On Thursday I will celebrate my 39th birthday. I say celebrate but that is only on account of the customary phrase; at the moment I certainly am not feeling particularly like celebrating.
I have been trying recently to really spend time alone, without the usual crutches. No television on constantly; no booking up lots of time with loved ones; no fooling myself or distracting myself. I have been spending time alone. The theory is that this is in probability what the rest of my life will be like, so I should learn to embrace it now and then I can live my life for me and more fully. Stop waiting for others to validate me and fill my time.
The reality is that I find the first two days hellish. I fall into a mild depression and have to use all my willpower to stop checking my phone and its many apps constantly; to persuade myself to resist sending out SOS messages to friends and family hoping they will want to meet up; to not eat every item in the flat; to put on clothes and get out of bed. It doesn’t seem to matter how much I may have been looking forward to my time alone when over-booked and frazzled from spending time with others, the reality is crushing. It feels like a triumph to just get through an hour and any lists of things that I might have concocted to keep myself motivated appear laughable. Time seems to reach out endlessly and two hours can seem like a lonely month of time when everyone else was living a real life and I am discarded in the gutter. No matter what I read, watch or journal it all confirms that I am doomed to live a lonely forsaken life.
The problem is that I know that if I can get through the first 48 hours I then hit a sort of wonder time. I suddenly remember, or rather believe, all the things that I have read and learned about the miracle of totally indulgent time alone. I enjoy the complete freedom; the time to be creative; the sense of empowerment and of time looking after myself for myself.
I am at the end of a detox 48 hours of solitude. In fact I cheated and met a friend for lunch today where I heard myself complain about everything and nothing. I was full of a litany of woes and self-pity. So, why does it currently take this awful time to find my alone time so good? I honestly feel like an attention addict coming down from a high that I didn’t enjoy much whilst on a bender. I find it so hard to change gears at the moment.
I mentioned at the start that I am days away from my birthday and I just can’t ignore that this fact is exacerbating things this week. The weeks before my birthday seem to be increasingly troubling as each year passes by. This year I cannot ignore the fact that I have but one more year until the four zero. I honestly have no problem with aging, really, but I can’t help to reflect on the differences between the life that I assumed I would have by 40 and the one that I am likely to actually be living. Hence the trying to force myself into embracing the reality if it all. I just wish it wasn’t quite so difficult.