“The wait is long, my dream of you does not end.” ~ Nuala O’Faolain
When I was much younger, I used to dream that a Mr. Right would come along, and everything would turn out as it should be. I thought that I would recognise him the moment I saw him. I would just know. Like in the movies. I even had a check list for all the qualities that he would have possessed. But as each year ticked closer to 30, my Mr. Right did not show up. Instead, I panicked. With my biological clock kicking and screaming at me, I hastily settled for a Mr. Not-So-Right.
I will not deny that I had rushed into my marriage. I won’t lie about being a coward then. I was a different person then.
I thought that being with someone was the solution to my being alone.
13 years have passed since my divorce. At the beginning, I still held onto the dream of finding my Mr. Right. I thought that after regaining my freedom, I would find him. So, I waited. And waited. Then, the waiting became a habit.
Waiting for the weekends, waiting to be called upon, waiting to be welcomed into a new group of friends, waiting to be wanted and needed. Most of all, waiting to be loved. The worst was the feeling of being left behind – being abandoned or excluded. It reminded me of my younger days at school when I was left waiting because no one cared to have me in their groups. It felt like an abject humiliation – to be the only one left standing in front of the whole class.
The taunting questions inevitably started to roll like clockwork – Why won’t they pick me? Why no one likes me? What’s wrong with me?
Then, when you learn that your ex-husband had moved on with another woman (or several other women) – the blade plunged deeper. No one came for me. No matter how long I had waited – there was no one but me.
It became an old tired scene – going on solo holidays, ordering for one at restaurants, finishing my meals over the kitchen sink or experiencing something wonderful but there was no one to share it with. And the person I cozied up to in bed on most nights was called, Mac – as in MacBook Air. He didn’t snore, or tossed and turned. However, there was a real risk of him heating up. Yes, that puts a whole new meaning to burning up the sheets! 🙂
This summed up the landscape of my SINGLE life, where even my daughter has become too busy for me. But don’t feel sorry for me. I insist. Because I don’t feel sorry for me. Because it is about me not settling for anything less.
Yes, it would be nice to travel with someone. But it would only work if that someone enjoys traveling and adventure just as much as I do. And that we both can get along. My rule of thumb is – if you can still stand that person after being stuck on a boat with him or her for a week, then there is real hope. Being stuck in small confined spaces with someone will bring out all the colours of their personality and yours. By the end of the week, you’ll discover if you really like or hate one another.
Yes, it would be nice to dine with someone. But it would only work if that someone’s company is the one you’ll enjoy or appreciate. Ever been to a blind date? Ever been to a really bad date? When two people can’t relate or connect with each other, it’s terrible. The minutes pass like an eternity and you’re both wondering how to get yourselves out of it. At best, you will try to be polite but you’re really cursing under your breath. Enough said.
Marriage or a relationship IS NOT a cure for loneliness, or being alone. – Click to Tweet
We could be in a marriage or relationship and STILL feel all alone. There were countless nights during my marriage when I was lying next to my husband, and yet I had never felt more lonely. We may as well have been living on different planets. The divorce merely formalised our separation.
In the past, I was so bruised, broken and in desperate need of loving care. But I would have been unable to return any loving care to anyone in my splintered state. It was really a blessing in disguise that I did not meet any Mr. Right or Mr. Nice guys. I might have ended up bruising them, and nothing would have turned out right.
I realised that my not liking being alone stemmed from my own issues. I did not like my own company back then. I didn’t even like myself, but I yearned to belong and to be accepted. And I actually thought that relationships (or marriage) could fulfil that need. As if having someone to love and adore me would validate my worth or being. As if without any of it, I would cease to exist. It was not until I made peace with my own personal issues that things began to change.
Instead of waiting for someone to rescue me, I became my own friend. Getting to know myself on a much deeper level, finding out what mattered to me, and what I am truly made of. In the process, I began to take pleasure in my own company.
These days, I take out my best China and tableware whenever I eat. Yes, even when I eat alone. Just like how I wear my best lingerie to sleep on certain nights even though the only people who get to see me in it are me, myself and Mac. I wear nice clothes and put on make up whenever I feel like it. I do not wait until I have a date to dress my best. I indulge in solo pampering like luxurious spas and retreats. I am not afraid to watch my favourite movies alone. Whenever time and $$ permit, I treat myself to special dream holidays. No, I don’t save the best for last. I enjoy what I deserve NOW.
To be honest, I am much happier these days because I am loving the life I live. I value the time alone as much as I appreciate time spent with loved ones and friends. Because the key to having successful relationships with others begins with cultivating a good relationship with oneself. If we do not even like our own company, then who would?
At the end of the day, I learnt that the person I was really waiting for was me.
I would say that the biggest change in me is my positive attitude. Because of that, it makes me easier to be around people. I am no longer carrying that “woe-is-me” weight around. I feel much lighter and cheerful. I no longer see adversity as a deliberate crisis designed to derail me. I see it as an opportunity for me to learn, discover and grow. As a result, my life started to change for the better.
There is no such thing as a perfect mate. Or a Mr. Right or Ms. Right. But there is definitely a person who is worthy of our time, love and attention. However, it is important to note that every person we meet will be as perfectly flawed as we are. What makes someone “perfect” for us is that he or she can truly inspire us to become the best version of ourselves. And if we know how to do that for one another, we would know how to nurture each other for the long haul. This would form the basis of a beautiful lasting friendship or relationship.
There is no such thing as a perfect relationship or marriage. Everything takes work. Even the relationship we have with ourselves takes hard work. We all have our own bad and good days. Without a strong understanding and love for one another, we would crack and break apart at every challenging situation. This is why it is important for us to be aware, to remain considerate and respectful of each other’s needs. Our needs are just as crucial as theirs. And these needs would change at different junctures of our lives. If we do not even know how to manage our own needs, it would be very difficult for us to be there for someone else when he or she needs us. Hence, this is why I say that the relationship we seek is the one we build. – Click to Tweet
While we can never shield ourselves from getting hurt, disappointed or heart-broken – we can stop being victims. We remain victims when we close our hearts and stop caring or loving. When we stop caring or loving, we cease to really live.
The day you start to heal from your past trauma, or personal issues is the day your heart grows bigger and braver. Sometimes we need the heartaches, pains and suffering in order to grow stronger, better and wiser. Sometimes, we may even need them so that we can learn the true meaning of love, gratitude and happiness. Above all, mercy and forgiveness.
All of our experiences – good or bad – should make us more understanding and compassionate. Only then we can relate to others in a meaningful way.
So, while you are waiting for someone special to share your life with – start living your own life to the fullest. Don’t put your life on a pause-mode just because that someone special has yet to appear. We don’t have to stop dreaming, but we do need to start being proactive. Be your own true friend, and enjoy your own company. Don’t stinge on yourself, but pamper yourself. Make each day worthwhile.
Fall in love with every aspect of your life, and value yourself.
Be grateful for all that you already have, and share the joy.
Become your own fearless hero, and life will love you back.