“I have no desire for one life partner.”
“I feel most inspired and alive on my own.”
“I don’t believe in marriage (or any other sacrament that needs a government’s stamp of legitimacy).”
There are things that I say that often elicit gasps, hushes, disbelieving “no’s” and disapproving nods. The above statements are such.
For this reason I kept quiet for many years. I took especially serious the comment, “Oh, you’ll grow out of that.”
But you know what I’ve recently realized?
I’m not going to grow out of it; I’ve grown into knowing it; I LOVE being alone!
I love waking up in bed alone. I love walking alone. I love chasing my life path alone. I love making my self-realizations alone. I love owning my accomplishments alone. I love how open I am to all interactions when I’m alone. I love retiring and retreating alone. I love taking responsibility for all my mistakes alone. I love the communion with nature that I find when I’m alone. I love being able to choose when I don’t want to be alone. I love the appreciation for food that I have when I eat alone. I love the quality of space and silence that surround me when I’m alone. I love how sensitive I am to my sources of inspiration when I am alone. I love navigating the solitary space of meditation alone. I love choosing my adventures alone. I love the lightness of being alone. I’m closest to being the person I aspire to be when I’m alone. And I think it’s time for me to come out of the closet on my love of being alone. (Or, maybe, stay in it?)
Maybe I’m unhealthily introverted. Maybe I’m just selfish, shallow and self-absorbed. (I’ve certainly been accused.) Maybe I fear commitment and responsibility. Maybe I’m just naïve. Maybe I’m afraid of people or deep relationships. Maybe I’m avoiding pain. Maybe I’ll never know the depths of truly self-sacrificing love. Maybe I’ll change my mind when I’m old and ugly. Maybe I’m made for the monastery. Maybe I just have cold heart. Maybe. I’ve considered them all, but have decided that these are question marks I’ll take on individually if and when they snake their way into my reality. I’ve learned that dedication to a life of Presence means shelving the “maybes” to a proper place of consideration, but never as justification for a position of inaction.
But I do agree that this attitude might not be healthy if I didn’t like people. Fortunately, I really like people. (In fact it’s often for the very purpose of meeting more people that I love to be alone.) I love people! And anyone who knows me knows this. In fact, many times I have to play down just how much I like people knowing how the way I “enjoy and love” people can sometimes be misinterpreted when transposed upon the laws of love as they have been defined by the greeting card industry. Equally I feel misunderstood when my love is defined by level of attachment. I really appreciate the people in my life who know me intimately enough that I am able to confidently sign my letters with, “Not missing you, but loving you. And knowing you know the difference.”
It amazes me how taboo it is to not be seeking a life partner. It seems like this is simply an unquestionable assumption that defines life progress and accomplishment. The societal conditioning is so thick that the question never has the chance to even arise. And it took me a full quarter of my life to realize, “Wow. The last six years of a solitary life path have been a perfect combination of challenge and inspiration. I feel great right now.” (And since I judge my future to be a perfect reflection of my present), “ So why not another six years? And why not the rest of this lifetime? Just me and you Life. Why not?”
I’m not saying that I’m going to define my future (no, no, no) by this or any other expectation (especially in light of the fact I don’t know much, and what I do know is constantly being looked back upon as being stupid); only that I release another socially constructed ideal and open my life to the very real and exciting possibility of walking, and taking responsibility for, my life path on my own.
The smirk on the face of the divine is inspired by the punch line of one of life’s cutest little pranks; that the minute an individual lets go and finds and centers him/herself freestanding, people seem to suddenly flock to that person. This just makes sense; that people love the essence and lightness of unburdened being and are attracted to those who internally and independently generate (and share) their own energy without dependency or borrowing. So while the advice of, “Find yourself, and then find another,” has a tone of truth, I’d also chime in with, “But if you find your relationship with life a challenging and exciting enough match of wit and emotion, then consider making a commitment to that partnership.”
As for love, I don’t know why, but I think I do feel it — not better or worse — but differently than the majority. Although it rationally makes sense to me; intuitively I simply can not define love by level of attachment, physical presence or time. I have felt the depths of my love plunge when looking into the eyes of people whose names I don’t know. And I’m actually scared by how my love does not flinch at the absence, departure and even decease of those I’ve loved for years. Perhaps it’s because I feel hardly constrained to this one little lifetime; that I’m confident and comforted by the opportunity of many more to reunite and exchange again. Even my romances I take on like sandcastles; mythical, magical little creations to be made with playful aim, but without purpose, and in full blessed consciousness of the crashing waves to which we will inevitably surrender our foundation for a fresh slate; on which we can begin again. And aren’t the waves benevolent? For what they know (but a truth which we often desperately resist), is that there is little joy in a dry and standing sandcastle. The point of a sandcastle is to be made and unmade. And a divine plan indeed has been devised to make this life a colliding and cascading collage of exactly such endless opportunities.
But enough of my rant and ramble; Rumi said it all better in eight little words;
“No better love than love with no object.”