A Single Life

My status as a single man in his 40s splits the opinions of those who know me.  Either they envy my freedom to do as I wish, when I wish, or they assume my life is a long series of loneliness.  They are right… and wrong.  I have never been married never really even been close despite being ‘engaged’ at one point.  There is a sense of freedom – well, not freedom, really.  It’s a sense of non-responsibility.  On the face of it, that would seem to be a positive.  And there is an upside to being able to pick up and do what I wish, if I have the ability.  But there is something missing, something basic, fundamental, primal… there is no sense of purpose.  What am I here for?  What do I do?  I have many friends who are single, either through circumstance or choice, and they have fulfilling lives.  They fill their time with “things” to do.  And they have responsibilities.  I have filled my life with a few responsibilities, but there are many that I wish I had.  I wish I had the responsibility of raising a child, of doing the family laundry and keeping the house clean (yes, I can live in filth if I choose, but I miss the “need” to keep a clean domicile), of making supper for more than one person. I still cling to remnants of what I wanted to be when I grow up.

And lonely?  I have a number of close friends and a very close family who generally keep me from feeling the stabbing loneliness that afflicts those who do not benefit from those connections.  So, I am never alone, unless I choose to be.  I do not surround myself with acquaintances, because small talk has never come terribly easy to me.  Oh, I can schmooze, but it takes real effort to do well.  But, caring deeply for a close friend?  That I can do naturally, and well.  There is still a dream out there, though.  There is no one here when I come home, when I wake up, to pull close when I sleep, to tell my secrets and listen to theirs… that kind of alone can be painful.  The search for that has become all too consuming.  It has always been a devourer of me and will continue to be.  I try to convince myself this search will not end well, so that I might refocus my energies.  However, I have been unable to shake the desire or need.  Deep inside, I know I will always remain alone in that sense.  There is not that person out there.  But I am a romantic, and that idea dies a million deaths only to be reborn.

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