Friday, September 19, 2008

Down to One

So "Down to One" is a good song by the great Melissa Etheridge. One of the best lines of the song is "sooner or later we all end up walking alone.." I've found myself thinking a lot about this. It's so true.

If, at some point, we're all alone.. I guess we better learn to love the one we're with. Right? I consider myself fairly lucky in that I enjoy my own company. I didn't always, but I'm thankful that after college and before I married.. I lived alone for nearly three years. It was during this time that I learned to tackle some ridiculous issues with doing things on my own. I lived alone with my dog "Sophie." I went to church alone. I went to movies alone. I went shopping alone. I worked out alone. The ultimate step in my "graduation" when I was a twenty something single girl was to sit at a table in a restaurant by myself and eat a meal...alone. I was reminded how far I've come this week, when between an appointment and a meeting, I pulled into my favorite salad dive and enjoyed my lunch on the patio, under the trees all by myself and loved every minute of it. I was thinking "I should have a date with myself more often.." This is nice. I read a chapter of a book. Turned off my Blackberry and just enjoyed the weather and my own company. I'm pretty decent company.

The point, I guess, is I'm so glad I had those years on my own. I think time like that gives us security that we can be alone, and if we chose not to be alone then that's huge. You can enter into relationship because you want to, not because you feel like you have to in order to avoid your own company.

When I first moved into my little apartment post college by myself. I HATED it. It was horrible. I'd just broken up with a long term boyfriend and here I was in this dumpy one bedroom apartment working my first real job, struggling to make ends meet. After a while I embraced it. I adopted Sophie. I decorated it. It was mine. I did what I wanted to, when I wanted to. I learned to do those things by myself. I learned to be good at my job. I made some great friends. I grew up. And when I got married and moved out of that dumpy apartment... I sort of grieved the loss of my single self. It happened on moving day. The family had gone ahead with the U-Haul to the house we were moving into. I'd stayed behind to clean up the apartment a little bit... my gal pal Rhonda had taken a load of the misc crap down to the car... I was alone in my little apartment. I just became sort of overcome. I started crying about the time my cell phone started ringing... it was my Dad.. "Ash where do you want me to put this..." He was calling to ask. He could tell I was crying. "What are you crying for?" He asked... " I don't know Daddy.." I replied. He said " I know what it is.. you don't want to leave that apartment because it's who you were before you got married..and it was yours.. now where am I putting this table?" That's so my Dad. He just throws the profound out there and moves on along before you have time to blink.. But he was right.

Time alone makes us who we are. So that we can be better when the right relationship does come along. It gives us perspective so we don't feel like we have to settle.

I have to give a shout out to one of my best girlfriends this week. One of the women who showed me how to embrace living alone. Because she's so comfortable in her own skin, she sent a seemingly nice (although a little aggressive) guy packing. You know who you are...I'm talking to you and I'm on your side. Glad you're not settling to avoid being alone. I'm proud of you.

OK that's all I've got. I'm done with my salad for lunch. I've typed this blog and it's time to get back to it. Holla!