The Anxiety of Singleness

snowy sunrise

I still experience anxiety at the prospect of an evening or a weekend alone, and I’m not sure why.  I’m approaching a year and a half on my own, but it still feels strange for some reason.  It must be that my brain became habituated to daily life being about kids and partners rather than about what I wanted to do.

Maybe the anxiety is an attempt to recreate the familiar.  I’m just still not used to having absolute choice in what I’m doing.  It almost seems like I’m being selfish and too self centered.  There is such a lack of stress and conflict.  My habituated self seems to figure there must be something dreadfully wrong with this picture.  It can’t be real.  Must be imagined.

When I catch myself ramping up the angst, if I stop and look around, turn my head to the left, to the right, observe and simply take in reality…  I realize the enormity of this new-found freedom.  There is so much natural beauty up here in the north woods.  So much calm and unassuming peace.  The world floats effortlessly through the day from sunrise to sunset.  The trees and critters, the flora and the fauna are content with the peace and natural order of things.

Much of my adult life has been experienced in the commuting-down-the-highway mode.  Each day you get in the car, get into the traffic, keep your eyes on the road and what everyone else around you is doing.  I pass the same homes and buildings and fields and woods (back when it used to be the metropolis) every day, but I know virtually nothing about them or even much about the details of what they look like.  I’m busy going somewhere.  No time to just be somewhere.

Perhaps now it’s the richness of just being here that’s so overwhelming.  The beauty and peace of where I’ve found myself to be after all these years is so expansive and consuming.

A phrase from John Tarrant that I have clipped to the front of my refrigerator for the past two weeks:

The core of all navigation is probably uncertainty:

tolerating not knowing makes it possible to find your way.

Not knowing means embracing what is not known rather than fighting with yourself over it.

Since the mind always strives to know, not knowing is disorienting in a useful way.

Uncertainty and not knowing teach you not to believe the stories your mind feeds you day in and day out.

If you allow your own course to be mysterious, then even the hard things can become easy.

This is the beginning of awakening.

Thanks, John.


One thought on “The Anxiety of Singleness

  1. There is certainly a paradox in living by oneself and you sum it up well – craving the companionship yet enjoying the freedom of choice of being able to take the time to enjoy the wonders of each day and finding there is an immense peace and calmness in simply doing that.

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