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.