Learning to be Alone

All my friends lately keep raving about the book Quiet, which is about introverts and how they are undervalued in our society. Apparently I have a lot of introverts for friends. I am also never quite sure if I'm an introvert or not. This seems to change each time I take a personality test. I've always wanted to be an introvert but I just can't help myself. I like people and I want them to like me. Right before my senior year of high school my family moved across the country to Maryland. Before we moved, I decided that I was going to try to change my public persona in my new high school. At my old school in California there was a boy in my grade who never talked. I always kind of envied him; I think I wanted to be mysterious, and I didn't want to bug people. Whenever I made comments in class or talked to other people, I was extremely self-conscious about looking silly or about bothering people. Yet, at the same time I craved connection and I liked sharing my thoughts. I'm still the same way, although I worry much less now about bothering people. Back in high school, it didn't take me long to realize that I could not manage to go a year without talking to anyone.  As much as I hate to admit it, I like having people around.

Being alone has been one aspect of being divorced that has been hard for me to adjust to. There are many facets of being alone that are hard. Physical loneliness, obviously. Going to bed by myself every night is still not much fun. The fact that every other weekend my kids are not here and my house is empty. The fact that most of my friends are married and so I feel alone in my single state, and many of my single friends have never been married. The thing I miss the most, though, is just having someone to hang out with. One of my most favorite things about being married was having a partner. Even with our ups and downs, we generally had a good time together and Mr. Fob was always willing to put up with the fact that I have to talk about everything. We also had  a close marriage; much of the time we were in school or working weird hours, so we had a lot of time together. Mr. Fob didn't travel for work at all, and we often lived close enough to work (or he worked at home) to eat most of our meals together. This closeness was both good and bad, of course, but I miss it.

So now I'm trying to readjust my self in an attempt to get used to the fact that I no longer have someone to talk to all the time about everything. After nearly two months of employment, I realized the other day that I probably drive everyone else at work a little crazy because I talk all the time. I like to talk through things before I do them and I'm sure most of my coworkers are tired of hearing me discuss everything I plan to do. I'm a little embarrassed that it took me so long to figure this out; obviously I'm not so good at picking up on social cues. I don't think it's insecurity; I just like to think out loud and get feedback from someone else. I think I need to try spending more time writing, and more time cultivating friendships that I already have. People are busy and it's not the same as having a spouse, but I think that I just need to accept the fact that I like to spend time with people and find good ways of doing it.

Interestingly , that last sentence is not what I intended to end up with when starting this post. I've also been thinking about the fact that I now spend a lot more time alone, and I need to get used to that fact. It still feels disorienting to be the sole decider of everything in my life and in my house. I know some people relish this kind of autonomy, but I never felt like I missed being autonomous when I was married. I think I had spent too much of my life feeling weird and alone, so getting married was a relief because I had someone who really did want to spend time with me (or so I thought). I think the only thing I can do at this point is stop spending so much time worrying about the fact that I'm alone and find ways to enjoy and embrace it. The last thing I want to do is rush into another relationship just because I want someone to hang out with.

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