Generally, I try to stay upbeat. I’m employed. I like my home. I have a loving family. I have hilarious friends.
But sometimes, I get a case of the Lonely Hearts Club blues. It just so happens that at this moment most of the people who I know are in love. They may be in messy love, or sad love, or it-will-never-work-out love, but they are in love nonetheless. Many of them are in happy love, thank heavens. I am genuinely glad that so many people who I adore have found someone who they adore. As I described my life earlier, I feel like one of those Book of Questions situations: “If you had to be alone forever and know that everyone you know would be loved, would you?” Apparently, I chose yes.
But, it’s those darkest days of winter. The ones where it seems like real spring will never come. The ones where I’m invited to events and weekends and dinners and happy hours, only to find myself as the third wheel, or the fifth, or the seventh. A perpetual spare tire.
And then, when I’m alone, it gets me. The perpetual fear. The one that, if I was willing to really admit the ugly core of me, keeps me up some nights. The painful, and eternal seeming truth. I am not lovable. Not really. There is nothing about me that anyone will ever love. And at my age, it is time to accept that this is it. That’s the speech that runs in my head that I never confess to anyone. “No one will ever love you and you will be alone forever.”
It’s not like I date. I am the sort of girl that everyone comes to about their dating dilemmas. A cancelled wedding gives one a certain street cred in these matters, I suppose. But, no one assumes that I would be date-able. Or ever asks. And when I try to wrap my head around it, I tell myself the same. The important thing, I tell myself, is to accept it now and be glad for everything else you have. And I try. I try to swallow it, over and over again. I will be alone for the next fifty or so years I have left on this planet. And that is ok. Love isn’t that great, right?
And the thing is, sometimes it works. Some days, I convince myself that it’s ok that I will spend the rest of my life with just me for company. I really do. I revel in it. No one else’s things crowding my tiny bathroom. No one else’s taste in movies to decide what to see. No one else to hog the blankets in the bed or drink all the coffee.
But sometimes, like tonight, it makes me sad. Not depressed. Not maudlin. Just sad, the way I would feel if I was my friend. “Poor thing,” I’d think. “It’s sad that she’ll always be alone.” And sometimes the next fifty years seem like an eternity to go through, having to always be my shoulder to lean on, having only myself to tell when things are great. Sometimes I don’t know how I will do it. I look at women who’ve done it before, and know that it can be done. But, when it’s February, and everyone you know is in love, even when it’s breaking their hearts, there’s no one to ask how to keep doing it by yourself, forever.
And then, like tonight, I put myself to bed. One day. Then the next. Whether I do them all alone or not, it’s too much to manage in fifty year increments. Today, I’m ok. Tomorrow will have to worry about itself.