Friday, August 2, 2013

Going Alone

I have never really been a shrinking violet, scared of the unknown or of doing stuff by myself or on my own. I will admit that there are some things that I'm not able to do, with others or otherwise--anything that requires I fall from a height, for instance....even rappelling is out, since it requires that I let go of a perfectly good mountain!  I will admit to wanting to sky-dive at least once, but I also know that, if I'm the one responsible for jumping out of the plane, there is no way that this particular item on my bucket list will ever happen.  Unfortunately, that is the residual of having a fear of falling.  I can be up high all day as long as I feel safe from falling, but I even have trouble jumping off a high dive!

I would not be this happy if I ever jumped.  I suspect that the picture would basically show sheer terror on my part!

Even so, I went to Albania on a short term missions trip by myself when I was 16, I spent my senior year in Germany as an exchange student, and then I went to Mongolia to teach English for a summer when I was in College.  I have driven multiple long road trips across country by myself--the most memorable was the one where my car caught on fire, or maybe the one where I had a trucker try to pick me up via the CB my dad gave me--it was his way to make sure that I could get help if my car broke down in the middle of nowhere (this probably dates me, since I didn't have a cell phone and cell phones weren't common at the time).  

Honestly, I have no qualms about walking the Camino by myself, and I'm actually looking forward to the adventure.  I know how to be safe with my valuables by keeping them on my person at all times, and I have enough money in my budget that, if everything else is stolen, I can still finish my Camino.  If someone really needs my backpack and my hiking clothes that bad, they are welcome to them. I also know how to protect my sister Sarah made sure of that in high school, and my superiors while working in the dorms finished the job with ways to get out of holds and run.  *shrugs*  I'm not going to be stupid, but if a situation comes up, I can deal with it.

Doing certain things alone still feel a little unnatural to me, though....I would prefer to go dancing, to a concert, or even to some races with other people rather than by myself.  I can and I do go by myself when I can't find anyone to go with me, but I have found that some things are better when shared.  For instance, last March, I completed a color run in ABQ...It was fun, but watching some of the other runners as they interacted with their groups, I realized that it would have been more fun with others, even if only to be able to make fun of how everyone else in my party looked at the end!  I'm hoping that doing things by myself will eventually feel normal.  While I'm really more of an introvert than an extrovert, I have no problems introducing myself to others, so I can make friends where ever I go, and really, that is part of the fun of being single again.

I am terrible at self-portraits.  This is the better of the 2 I took at the Color run back in March...This is probably a good thing, as I'm less likely to inundate here and my Facebook account with self-portraits!

These shoes turned every pair of socks green for the next 4 weeks!

I asked one of the volunteers to take a picture of me.  I showed them how to zoom, but they chose not to...
It is funny....Being single has a different kind of loneliness than the loneliness I experienced in my marriage. The loneliness I feel now is less sharp-edged, less painful....and it doesn't last as long either.  I haven't figured out exactly why yet, although I suspect that the loneliness in my pre-divorce days was mixed with feelings of rejection.  Whatever the real reason, I have come to realize that I may not have full control over whether or not I feel lonely, but I do have control over what I do with it.  I can mope and wallow, or I can go out and live my life.  When I do the latter, I end up making new friends and spending time with the friends that I have....which takes care of the loneliness.  Even when I end up doing something by myself, the act of living mutes the loneliness, if not extinguishes it completely.  It becomes a cricket singing outside my bedroom window rather than the drone of a mosquito inside my bedroom at 3 am.

So, I continue to work on being willing to venture out by myself, and in the process, I'm finding contentment. I'm blessed by friends, but I'm learning that I am also blessed by my own company.  It is ok to go to an event alone!