I was chatting with my Aunty this morning over breakfast.
We were discussing the notion of being “alone”. And how so many people are afraid of it.
I don’t have an issue with being alone. I used to. But that’s all changed.
In fact, I really like it. Because I’m kind of like Maria in “The Sound of Music”. Like trying to catch a cloud and pin it down.
I hate being told what to do. And very often, I hate compromising. I’m so stubborn sometimes I madden myself. And my flippant nature downright infuriates some. I run notoriously late. I often forget to phone people back. My 20 minutes is actually an hour and a half…
I wrote an article going back a few months now titled “Am I Lonely?”.
Pondering whether or not I am indeed lonely.
I acknowledge that I spend a significant amount of time alone. Maybe more than the regular person. But I feel lucky. Because I really enjoy my own company.
Spending so much time alone, helps me to write. I need the quiet. And I restore myself in solitude.
I recall the day my former husband moved out of our home. Over 3 months ago now.
I spent a large portion of the day in tears. I was beside myself.
That’s a funny term. Being beside ourself. I guess because sadness is not our true state. We almost have an outer body experience by being so tormented.
I drank a lot of wine. I ate an entire jar of Nutella, and got that burning feeling in my throat (along with diabolical heartburn). I cooked myself dinner, and spent a few hours on the phone to a girlfriend.
I remember whilst I was preparing my meal that night, I was cutting some potatoes.
The sound of the knife being brought down on the chopping board echoed, and ricocheted off the walls.
My home, now sparsely furnished, making every sound that much more intense.
That’s what emptiness does.
Makes everything seem louder than what it actually is.
Sometimes it’s the absence of things that makes you become more aware of what was already there to begin with. But you’ve filled it with other things as a means of distraction.
That’s what an emptying out of things does. Reveals what was always there.
But emptiness also has it’s polarity.
As I look back over the past 3 months, I realise how far I’ve come.
Those first few weeks of being “alone” were quite intense.
Particularly after having spent 13 years living with someone.
And then one day, it just changed.
I recall sitting cross-legged on my dining room chair, eating dinner, watching a movie on my tv which now lives on the floor, and I thought to myself “I’m really happy”.
There’s always that moment where that “shift” takes place. That moment of realisation. I say realisation, because really, you’re always there.
The literal and metaphorical space I now have, has made me grateful.
And it really is the simple things I have grown to really appreciate.
I appreciate the friends that have stuck by me. Tirelessly holding my hand (and often drying my tears).
I appreciate sleeping in the middle of the bed.
I appreciate that I never get mad. Never ever. Well, hardly ever.
I appreciate that no one is present to witness my clumsiness.
I appreciate that my neighbour sometimes cuts my grass. He even mows my lawns too (kidding, I’m kidding – no one is “cutting my grass”).
I appreciate the silence.
I appreciate the new friends I’ve made.
I appreciate vacuuming the house, listening to music, whilst waiting for a face mask to dry.
I appreciate that I don’t cry as often as I used to. That in itself is remarkable.
I appreciate coming and going as I please.
I appreciate sometimes eating lollies for dinner.
And I also appreciate that my company is appreciated. I’m a much nicer person these days.
That space has allowed what was always there to shine through.
Having spent over a week in Byron Bay with my Aunty has really made my heart sing.
She has spoilt me like a small child.
Washing and folding my clothes for me. Cooking for me. Bringing me glasses of wine, bowls of fruit, smoothies, and cups of coffee. Giving me those delicious oxytocin hugs. Taking me to concerts and restaurants. To the movies. To her friends homes to visit. Watching tv together and drinking beer. Laughing together. We laugh a lot.
As I sat on the beach this afternoon, I looked up and saw a rainbow out on the horizon.
And of course it made me think.
That whilst we may experience storms, we have to have the rain if we are to ever witness the rainbow.
So the quote I have used in this article title is one full of meaning for me.
Some people walk in the rain, others just get wet.
Learn how to walk in the rain. Use it. Learn how to appreciate life’s sometimes storms.
Otherwise you’ll never be grateful for all of the colours in that rainbow when it appears.
And after all, the sun after the rain is always so much more excellent than the sun before the rain.