Tonight I attended the wedding reception of two very wonderful people. After the initial thought of, “oh great, now what am I going to do?,” I found myself sitting among friends at a table far away from the dance floor. The evening went very well, full of wine, beer, and food truck hamburgers. Toward the end of the evening, I found myself with one of my good friends “Tim.” Though he’s close to my parents’ age, Tim is very special to me, and I look up to him and cherish everything he says to me. After some light wine-filled conversation, Tim asked me a question that was loaded with serious.
“When are you going to stop putting your life on hold for others?”
After I tried to deny it, Tim asked me a different question.
“What are your goals for you? Marriage? More children?”
I tried to explain that my life is very busy, and I know that life is easier for me than for other single parents. I’m fairly certain that I’m done having children of my own, given that I’m not in a relationship right now, and having a child after I’m married again would be a difficult change for Em. I feel very blessed to have my family and my church family around whenever I need them. And I have many people in my life who love me.
“Yes, we all love you very much. But you don’t get to go home with us, do you?”
And then I cried.
Tim is right. I can surround myself with lots of love from family and friends, but at the end of the day, in the quiet of the night, it’s very lonely.
It has been a very lonely period. With no dating prospects in my line of sight, it seems a very good likelihood that I will not be in a serious relationship or marriage for another seven years.
There was an article published in the Huffington Post lately, a “journal entry” would be a more accurate description, that a woman wrote explaining why she did not need a man. Having been married before and now divorced with children, the woman explained how she had so many family and friends surrounding her, she didn’t need a man at home to make her feel loved.
I agree with her to an extent. But it is very lonely to not have somebody to talk to, to cry to, to cuddle up with, to love, to cherish.
Human beings need companionship. Extended periods of solitude can be very, very trying.
Tonight I’m left wondering: is Tim right? Am I putting my life on hold so that I can help others have a life? Is my gift of giving aid to others causing my life to stop?
Have I stopped walking along the path that has been laid before me? Or am I just taking a very long detour? Am I behaving like an insolent child, sitting down in the middle of the road, refusing to continue until someone pays attention to me and gives in to my demands?
Have I stopped living my life for me?
And I’m left wondering a question that I thought earlier in the evening: how did I get here, and where did my life go?