“Love is the longing for the half of ourselves we have lost.”
Milan Kundera, The Unbearable Lightness of Being
We grew up bombarded with various concepts and interpretations of love. We saw them in Hollywood movies, we read them in romance novels, we heard them in love songs and we experienced them for ourselves all throughout our lives. There’s sibling love, parental love, friendship love, romantic love and the list goes on. We were inundated with realistic, possible, plausible and sometimes downright impossible versions of this love. I, for one, bought into all of them lock, stock and barrel. Who isn’t a sucker for happy endings? Who doesn’t want it all?
I wanted the white picket fence. I wanted the loving and doting husband and the 2.5 children. I wanted the family sedan and soccer mom car. I tried, I really did. I put myself out there. I’ve been on countless dates. If I had to make an estimate, I’d say I’ve been on 100 dates. Give or take a few. Assuming I’d started dating at age 20, that would have been 5 dates a year on average. Somehow, I still hadn’t won the dating lottery and won my other half. I digress.
When we were younger, we had countless social networks. It would be very easy to go out. If one group couldn’t make it, I’d call on another group until my weekend calendar was filled. One by one, my friends started dropping like flies and got married. I had another group that took longer but they also succumbed to the institution of matrimony. I was still out there meeting guys, hoping to meet the one I would spend the rest of my life with. Somehow it never happened and now I’m reaching almost-40. I can count my remaining single friends with the fingers on one hand. And I felt it. I felt the loneliness. I started having younger and younger friends until I realized these were people who could’ve been my children assuming I had been promiscuous in my youth.
My friends had children. My siblings had children. I was the doting aunt. I was the fun aunt. But underneath the doting fun aunt facade belies the loneliness. I’ve always been the make do woman. You make do with what is given to you. You make the most out of every situation. Try as you can, there will be days when you just want to curl up in bed and wallow and pity yourself for being alone. It can get unbearable, uncomfortable and downright untenable. So you message a few people, some will respond immediately. Some won’t. That’s because they’re busy with their families and their own lives. And you’ll take whatever scraps you can get because it is better than having to deal with loneliness. You’re apologetic for bothering them yet you still can’t help it.
At this point, you make a resolution that you will make the next man you meet be THE ONE. Anyone is better than none. But things don’t always go your way (unless you find a love potion that actually works) and you end up back where you started. And the vicious cycle continues.
I’ve accepted that loneliness is not an emotion only single people feel. Even married people feel lonely too. I had to accept that I would be good with being alone. Being alone didn’t have to mean being lonely. I had to distinguish and draw the line between the two. Growing up in a big family, I was always used to being with someone. It was hard adjusting but I had to. Life is all about adjusting, adapting, changing and rebalancing.
Loneliness doesn’t have to be unbearable. I battle it daily by keeping busy and trying to live a happy life. It will not always be easy but the more you keep at , the easier it gets. It’s all coming up roses. I’m still hopeful for my other half but I will stop thinking that I am incomplete without it.