The Art of Being Alone

Being single is interesting. In the early years after Sarah died, I was a bit embarrassed about being single, like when going to a movie, a dance, a party, a restaurant, a bar. Not having a partner—a date. As if no one would have me. After seven years of being alone, I’ve gotten into being single. I like to eat in a restaurant alone. It’s hard to describe, but I like to advertise that I’m okay with being alone. I can go the rest of the way by myself.
Of course, I am not by myself. I have Lola, my dog, my most constant companion. We love each other. I recently wrote a song for her: “When I look in your mind, that’s what love is.” I also have two wonderful children and four equally adorable grandchildren. And more friends than I can count. But still, there is something about not having a partner.
I wonder what it is. I’ll skip the sex issue. I wonder why some of us (certainly me, who was used to being a couple) shrink from being alone. It takes courage to face life alone. This requirement of courage has been understudied. People commit suicide when they find themselves in the wilderness. Durkheim described it as anomie, not being heard. Certainly, the desire to have a partner has something to do with language, being a linguistic biped, as Burke more or less called us.
I realize I am confused here. I am merging singleness with social isolation. Maybe I’m equating being partnered with social acceptability. You are not ok when you’re alone. In high school, it was so uncool to not have someone with whom you could dance. 
I thought I was going somewhere with this post, but I find that I’m not. I was nodding toward the ideology of partnership, of procreation, but I can’t get there. Something is missing. I suspect it would announce itself if I were to fall in love. I suppose what I’m asking is why we need love? I know that being in love is wonderful: I’ve been there. I still am, in a way, because I’m in love with Lola. But welcoming love and needing love are not the same thing. 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *