Original Link : https://psiloveyou.xyz/its-okay-to-be-lonely-e25f261ee289

I never thought I’d be okay with being alone.

Idid the worst thing a person living on their own could do. I went into an IKEA on a Saturday morning. Acutely aware of my singleness, I felt like someone newly sober trying to hang out in a bar with their friends.

I never paid attention to couples before or the dozens of families, unless their child was screaming, but today I did. I watched them walk hand in hand. I listened as they vocalized the reasons behind one choice over another.

I thought I’d be depressed.

Instead, I came up with a five-year plan for my life as I meandered the aisles deciding by myself what to buy. I survived, and I didn’t feel like my life was any less than there’s just because my someone isn’t there. I felt empowered by all the plans I made in my head, things I never had the courage to ask for but were important to me, more important than I gave them credit for.

It’s okay to be lonely.

Most days, I keep myself so busy that I don’t notice the fact that I’m a party of one. Then the evening comes, and the usual routine of Netflix and chill turns into binge watching until I get so tired, I’m ready to sleep. My old bedtime was long forgotten as I know I won’t rest alone until I’m so tired that’s all my body wants to do.

I know it will get easier. But that’s the thing that scares me. Will I get so accustomed to being alone that I’ll never want someone to be apart of my life?

I know that I shouldn’t rest all my chances of happiness on the shoulders of someone else. At the same time, I can’t help but wonder what a life lived single looks like. Will I be happy with that?

I believed the fairy tales and the media hype that would have you accept the fact that you can only be happy if you’re with someone. That those people who are alone in life are infinitely unhappy, always searching for someone to fill the spot next to them in bed.

But do we have to?

It takes a strong person to remain single in a world that is accustomed to settling with anything just to say they have something.

The entirety of my 20s, I settled to have someone in the bed next to me. Often, I believe that my life now is the result of all those poor choices in my twenties.

Now that I’m forty, I know that the only thing looking back on the past can do is teach me how to navigate my present better so that my future no longer has to be defined by those choices.

Settling for someone didn’t always mean picking someone who wasn’t good enough for me. Most of the time it meant, losing myself or being around people that I couldn’t fully be myself around because they wouldn’t like it. After years of dulling my sparkle to make myself palatable for others, I have to figure out who I am again.

At 40, I had no idea who I was or what I wanted out of life. Everything I wanted was wrapped up in the desires of another that had zero to do with me. If I have to be alone to rediscover what will make me happy, then it’s a season I’ll have to pass through.

No one wants to live life lonely and unhappy, yet surrounded by people. I live alone right now with my children. The only time I’m physically alone is on the weekends when they go to visit their father.

I dreaded the first weekend I would spend alone like someone anxious about an upcoming root canal. But I was fine. I kept busy and lived my life. I blasted music and sang along. I ran errands. I took myself out to dinner. I did all of the things that make up a typical weekend, just unpartnered.

There are all of these societal ideas about what life looks like for someone alone. Even the word alone has a negative connotation. It’s meaning, being separated from others, isolated, couldn’t be any more depressing if it tried.

But I’m not isolated. I have friends. I go out into the world and enjoy everything it has to offer.

Why does our relationship status have to play such a large role in how we view our lives?

Because the media can’t sell single. Think about it. What do they market to single people besides dating services? Sometimes people want to make new friends but keep their autonomy. But there isn’t an app for that. You can’t make a dollar off of that, and there will never be a holiday celebrating singledom.

As I walked around the IKEA, I saw a few people there alone, but not many. I wondered what their lives looked like. I wanted to know if they were alone or just there that particular day by themselves. I wanted some model for how to live a life unpartnered.

I came to the conclusion that I’ll have to make it up as I go along.

I’ll use each day to rediscover me. I watered myself down to have someone but I don’t have to do that anymore.

I can move through the world and do all of the things I enjoy doing while unpartnered. I don’t have to be lonely, and happiness is just as fleeting as it was when I was partnered. The only thing that has changed is the assumption that just because I’m by myself that I should be lonely and depressed.

In reality, I’m at peace with myself and my surroundings. Society may never adjust their collective mindset that being unpartnered automatically means you’re lonely, but I can. It’s possible to enjoy your life single and not be lonely.

“Nothing can bring you peace but yourself.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson