Recently I was talking with a friend and the conversation topic was about what it's like to be alone. While we love our personal space, where is the line between being alone and feeling lonely? Being an only child with a single working mother, I'm no stranger no solitude. I remember playing with my barbies by myself, doing homework by myself, even sometimes trying to navigate my emotions by myself.
I found for most of my younger life I sought out connections with people to avoid being home alone. In this, I've found some of the best people that I still cherish to this day. Although I was surrounding myself with people that brought me light, I still felt hollow. I found myself scribbling melancholy thoughts in my journal and wondering why I still felt lonely. I had a great group of friends that kept me going through the day but then my brain had a chance to stay still, I felt that heavy blanket of fear of being by myself. Something in me realized that I was chasing activity because I had grown hatred for physically being alone. The physicality of being alone had never really been happy experience for me. I needed to figure out how to enjoy being by myself.
Loneliness is almost as if you're screaming in a crowded arena and no one can hear you. There is a cliche saying that you can be in a room full of people and still feel lonely. Cliche or not, its the truth. I have been surrounded by the people I love the most and still have felt like none of them can see me. I felt that no one knew me, heard me, or even felt my presence. No matter what I did I couldn't escape being alone, so I decided to change my approach. I started to fill the alone time with activities that brought me joy. I read books with no distractions, worked on my craft, or just watched my favorite movies. I started to like being by myself and felt more grounded in my own body. In this new era of alone time, I discovered my likes and dislikes. I was figuring out who I was and what made me feel whole. This time was becoming a safe space that I could return to when I needed to center my self. With all this self-discovery, I learned how to be a better friend and daughter.
Don't be afraid of being alone, embrace yourself. Try to find ways to enjoy yourself without the presence of others. Others can bring so much joy to our lives but when the dust settles, it's so important to find peace in ourselves. Learning to enjoy myself taught me that being alone doesn’t make you lonely, it just gives you an opportunity to do things that you like to do without any compromise from others. So watch your favorite movie for the sixty-third time, go to your favorite store and buy that pair of pants that make your ass look good, and make sure you take time becoming your own best friend.
As I sit in my 500 square foot apartment that is currently bombarded with pounding noise of a hammer being used next door, I start to think, how the hell did I get here?
Two years ago I was sitting in my overpriced college dorm wondering what the hell I was going to do when I got my degree. Now here I am, about to turn twenty-one, no degree, and I believe about seventeen dollars to my name.
When older people tell you "Your twenties are a time when you are supposed to have fun!", what they really mean is that you are supposed to get all your reckless behavior out now before it has serious repercussions. What most don't tell you is that the beginning, middle, and end of your twenties are just as defining as your senior year in high school. My senior year I was choosing which school I thought could lead me to some the future I had dreamed of, and now I'm choosing which jobs are going to be sufficient enough to pay my bills.
On the other hand, I am also doing things I could've never imagined myself doing; Paying rent, balancing bills, living with a man (one of the toughest ..believe me), keeping a healthy relationship, keeping the fridge stocked with groceries, and actually being fully responsible for myself. Ten years ago the thought of being completely self-sufficient scared the shit out of me. Now it's just normality, survival even. Things that seemed impossible are now daily duties that are necessary to live.
As a little girl, my mother would always express our financial difficulties but never in a negative connotation. In her eyes, things just were the way they were. We had to live how we were able to. With that being said my mother never left me without and provided a life that I wouldn't trade for anything. She never made me feel as though I was missing out, and she did it all on what she was given and what she could get. She used to call it "Robbing Peter to Pay Paul". My mother is the hardest working woman I have ever met and a true inspiration. The lessons she taught me I still find myself making use of today. Still to this day I call her constantly seeking advice on how not to drown in my twenties.
There is the freedom aspect of the twenty-somethings. Never in my life have I had more freedom than I do now. However never in my life would I ever think that I wouldn't it want it. Don't get me wrong, freedom is the gift that keeps on giving, but its also the gift that keeps on taking money from my wallet. The more freedom you have, the more it costs. Having no one but yourself to answer to is not all it's cracked up to be. When you are the one who has to deal with the shit you decide to get into, that's when you truly start to think about cause and effect. The other day I had a thirty-minute conversation with myself about how big of a dent a cup of five-dollar frozen yogurt would put into my wallet. Even all while being frugal with my money, I still find myself splurging on the little things that I take joy in. I deserve it, I work my ass off to still struggle the way so I make sure to remind myself that I deserve to have fun. I guess what I am saying is that no matter how fucked up life gets, I am still having the time of life gasping for air in the deep end.
How long does the “I don't know what I am doing with my life stage life” stage last? How long does it take for the career and long term housing part of one's existence to kick in? Does it depend on how hard the person is working, or does it depend on what opportunities they are given? Many will say that to get what is wanted in life hard work comes first and the reward will follow. Not many ever really speak of the middle of the road stage. Is this a part in life that everyone goes through and no one talks about? Or is it just myself that is caught in a gigantic limbo of my future. I like to call this the loading zone.
When downloading a new game, app, or a computer program there is a start and a finish. The worst part of the process is the middle of the loading. The time where it's at about forty or fifty percent. It's too far in to give up, but not far enough to feel completely satisfied. The eighty percent zone is a lot safer because the end is near enough so it doesn't feel like as much as a stretch. Eighty percent says “I've almost made it, but I have some last minute touches to really top things off.”
Fifty percent bring anxiety and doubt. “I have made it this far, do I have it in me to finish? If I stop now, do I have enough to start a new chapter, or even to start again if I wanted to give this another go?” Fifty percent is a real risky business. Although not widely talked about, it's completely essential to what we call “Our Hopes and Dreams”. Without the doubt and worry of the halfway mark, none would know if they are certain about their choices. This middle of the road stage is way more important than what we give it credit for. It tests us time after time, seeing if we can last until the end.
The middle of the road feeling does not last forever. I wish I had heard that more growing up. If one middle of the road stage leads to newfound paths, I dare anyone to take those steps, but just know its always going to be there. Don't let a fifty percent feeling stop what makes life feel complete.