Most of the time, I can cheerfully see all of my many, many blessings. I have lots of love and laughter surrounding me, and I’m lucky to be able to successfully (so far) freelance for a living.
I am very grateful for the peace and serenity that finally permeates my life after what seemed like an eon of turmoil. In fact, I spent so many years in perpetual chaos, adversely affected by certain others’ actions, that I have purposely and frequently sought out solitude during the past year.
What I’m saying is — I am alone a lot, by choice.
Over the holiday weekend, my self-imposed alone time turned into full-on loneliness, so I decided I wanted to get out of the house.
Problem is, I don’t think most of my friends realize I'm not a hermit anymore, so I don’t get a lot of calls or texts to hang out. I’m discovering that I have to work pretty hard to find things to do, as well as the people to do them with. And sometimes that job is a little daunting.
I haven’t been single since 2008, and my ex and I were pretty isolated for the last couple of years we were together. I’m out of the loop on any cool happenings around town, and I am also out of practice when it comes to making plans for this here party of one.
Add to that, I no longer have a wingman – a go-to (also single) friend who is plugged into the social scene and is my default “plus-one” whenever I want to hit the town. My BFF is married with a new baby, so she gets out less than I do. Of my other two closest girlfriends, one lives six hours away and the other works six days a week, including weekends.
There are a lot of other men and women I consider to be good friends, but I am not part of their core group(s) because I have simply not been around for a long time. I don’t automatically come to mind when they make plans to go boating, attend concerts or just grab dinner. And why would I? I can’t be insulted; they are not excluding me on purpose.
I know that my lack of options is sorta my own fault. Turn down enough invitations and people stop inviting you. I also don’t drink alcohol, and that tends to avert any “let’s go get a beer” invites. (Hey, I can still drink tea or coffee while you have your Bass Ale. Just sayin’. It doesn’t bother me until you get into sloppy, slurring territory.)
Anyhoo, back to this past weekend. After making several calls on Sunday night, I got myself invited to Captain’s Quarters to meet up with a group. I drove all the way out there only to find that everyone else in town had beat me to it, so there was no parking left in the main lot. I could have paid $10 to park half a mile away, and THEN paid the $10 cover just to walk in the door.
But I got so pissed off at how dang DIFFICULT it was to just go out and meet some friends that I left in a huff. I can’t say exactly why, but that situation made me feel even more “single” than I did before I got there (I never said it was rational). I did not like that empty feeling, so I bailed.
After a string of profanity directed at myself and the world in the car on the way back to my house, I decided to have a good old-fashioned pity party. Enter Cadbury’s English Toffee ice cream bars.
Three bars and one brain freeze later, the party was over, and I started to take an objective look at what I need to change about myself to increase my social prospects and get back to being a sought-after companion. I used to be one of those, and I want to be one again.
I don’t mean to imply that no one ever asks me to go out. That is not true at all. But it’s usually special-occasion, event-type invitations, not everyday, spur-of-the-moment invites. I want to be on a few people’s speed dials when they decide to go to the movies in the middle of a Saturday afternoon. Right now, I hesitate to make those calls myself because I don’t want to impose on someone else’s established social hierarchy. Or some such bullshit. *SIGH*
Anyway, I know I’ve got to re-establish myself among friends and acquaintances as someone who is open to, and available for, anything. And that’s going to take a concerted effort.
I was naïve to think that a social life would just be there when I wanted it. Turns out that, just like anything else worth having, I’m going to have to pursue it.
First, I am going to start taking an active interest in the lives of friends beyond my three closest girlfriends. I cannot depend on those girls to keep me on the go like I have in the past.
Next, I need to start extending invitations instead of waiting for them to come to ME. Duh, right? I’m going to pay attention to what’s going on around town and throw out invites to anyone I think might be interested.
Also, when I do get invitations to go out ... I need to go, with a capital G-O. Even if I don’t feel like it or the event or activity is not my bag, I have to start showing up. I’ve been out of sight for so long, I’m out of a lot of minds. Need to get back in there. See and be seen, etc.
I’m also going to have to plan ahead instead of lamenting at 7 p.m. on a Saturday night that I can’t find anything to do or anyone to spend time with.
Sounds simple, right? Right. But the kicker is, I no longer expect it to be easy.
To get right down to it, Cabo Wabo is this coming Saturday, June 1. Anyone interested in going with me?
About Amy Higgs
A former newspaper columnist, Amy takes her random, slice-of-life stories to the web. After 10 years, she's still just saying.