That’s what comes to mind when I think of someone living alone. I’m in awe of the courage it must take to say “I’m going to do this on my own, no matter what.” The underlying self-confidence is inspiring. My brief experiences are nothing in comparison, but they at least give me glimpses and insights into what it must take to be solo, as we say in Italy.
I’ll tell you what I miss by being alone: Conversation. Maybe it’s just an exchange about the mundane details of the day, but having someone to talk face-to-face with gives the day a certain finality and dignity, no matter how simple or difficult it may have been. When Cheryl is here, I have immediate access to direct feedback, suggestions, helpful hints, observations, creative ideas, empathy, a helping hand, encouragement when I’m down, support when I’m sick, good challenge when I need it, a guaranteed dinner partner, laughter, someone to cry with, and most importantly, someone who knows me often times better than I know myself. Simply put, someone special to share the intimacies of life.
The other day someone asked me if I need Cheryl in my life. My answer was no. It sounds harsh when I say it, but the fact is, I don’t need her in that way. I realize that I’m capable and can be alone if I have to be. But, I do want her in my life. To become needy is to be weakened, which means I have less to give. But to want is to have clarity about what matters and what I intend to make happen. There is no question that I am a better person when she is with me. I’m here to grow, and learn to love like never before, and she provides the mirror through which I can see myself more clearly.
So when she is away, it gives me a chance to re-up my intentions about this life. It becomes crystal clear that I want her sitting across from me at the dinner table. And I want her there with me when the lights go out—to comment on how bright the moon is that night, or to talk about silly things and laugh for just a minute before dozing off.
When she is away, I still eat by candlelight across from her empty chair, and never fail to turn her side of the bed back. Having someone you trust and love to share your life with is perhaps one of the greatest gifts imaginable—and I want that!