Project Awesome

Making my life more awesome

Happily ever after ever-after

on May 13, 2014

After stopping dating, I felt euphoric all weekend.  I felt as if I was on drugs.  I only realised *how* stressful dating had been once I stopped worrying about it.  “What’s this weird feeling? ‘Relaxed’? Really? I like this!”  And I felt as if a whole world of possibilities had opened up to me once again.  Of course I hadn’t put my life on hold once I started dating, but it took up so much time and brain-space (both of which are already quite limited) and there was a sense in which my future felt less certain and not entirely within my control – there were possibilities out there which weren’t entirely dependent on my choices.  Altogether, I felt stymied.  So I was wildly excited about yesterday, Monday, a whole day and night free of children, and people, and events.  Nothing to do.  Nothing at all.  Nothing.  Nada. Zilch.

I stopped dating because I wanted more time to do the things I love: writing, sewing.  I stopped dating because I wanted to do astonishing things, unencumbered by a relationship.  What I actually did with my glorious empty day was: tidy the living room (well, you might as well when there’s no-one to untidy it for two days); ring a builder; do some laundry; and watch 9 episodes of Doll House, a Joss Whedon sci-fi tv series from 2009. Not something I’ve been desperately wanting to watch.  Not something brilliant.  Just… something.  If I *were* Joan of Arc, what I would have done is updated my Facebook status with ‘Thinking about making Charles King of France, lol’ and gone back to eating crisps.

I also spent the day checking my phone.  Has anyone updated Facebook? Not in the last ten minutes.  Why has no-one texted me? Because you dumped the only person who texted you frequently, on the grounds that you wanted more time on your own.  How are you liking being on your own now, eh?

The truth is that I like being on my own.  But I also like company.  And I measure my worth, my efficacy, my value to the world, by the opinion of others.  If people tell me I’m great, I believe them.  If they tell me I’ve done something well, I feel it must be true.  If people spend time with me, enjoy my company, I feel worthwhile.  But when I’m on my own, when no-one is paying me attention, what makes me significant? What makes me matter? Without God, or any kind of external validating agency, (and at the moment I think I *am* without God) it’s hard not to feel a sense of nihilism.  We’re born, we live, we die.  Hopefully we have a positive effect on people we encounter, the people we love, but then they die.  And what, then, is the point?

I think this is what I want to explore now.  Over the past few years, I’ve found resources in myself to survive a crisis.  And now, having done some dating which felt, effectively, like a mini-relationship, I don’t feel so much like I’m post-Ex-Husband.  Perhaps I’m no longer just recovering from my marriage breakdown.  (My sister says she certainly no longer thinks of me as ‘post-Ex-Husband’ and that I should stop whining and get on with it.  Though that *may* be my interpretation of her sentiments).  Stopping dating, I am making choices about me, and my life, and what I want to do with it.  I’ve been reading two books by Sara Maitland, A Book of Silence and How to be aloneOne of her themes in both books is that although our society prizes individualism, both silence and solitude are somehow seen as dangerous: indicators of madness, badness or sadness. And it’s hard to escape the insidious cultural belief that ‘happy ever after’ only ever *truly* arrives with Prince Charming.

Just now I want to spend time on my own, doing the things I love (and I am really hoping that yesterday my brain just wanted a bit of downtime and tomorrow it will be motivated to do more than watch television and eat Nutella out of the jar) and working out what my value is to myself, what makes me feel worthwhile, whether it really matters that there’s some grand point to my existence.  And, conversely, I want to spend more time finding and making community,  building relationships which matter.  Finding euphoria in solitude and silence and society.

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One response to “Happily ever after ever-after

  1. thenarcissistwrites says:

    That sounds like an excellent way to spend your time 🙂

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