Girls Night In

the blog for single, over-40 women

Broken … or Lonely?

on April 4, 2014

Earlier this week I chatted with two new friends about the single life. One mentioned she’d only been on her own a few years while the other had now been single for almost 17.

I raised my hand. “Fifty years for me.”

The most-recently divorced friend asked, “How do you handle it? I get so lonely.”

“Well,” I replied, “eventually you just get used to it.”

That’s not to say I never feel the loneliness. The ache. But I learned how to deal with it, a day at a time, until that moment I realized it wasn’t so bad anymore. Eating meals alone is just what I do. Driving alone gives me time to think or sing really loud to cheesy 80s music, like ABBA or REO or Air Supply. I’ve even been known to celebrate small successes alone. (This usually involves ice cream.)

In fact, I’m at a place now where I actually look forward to being alone.

This would all be great if not for the fact that I know there’s a lot more going on here than me finally learning how to be content. No, this is about me doing what I’ve always tried to do: protect my heart. And there’s no safer place than in my little house. So I stay home and watch Castle reruns instead of going out.

Sigh.

All I need now are a few more cats and my journey to spinsterdom will be complete.

At least I realize it’s something I need to work on. Sometimes I force myself to get out of the house no matter how soft my slippers are or how many movies are loaded up on my DVR.

Here’s the problem, though: Going out means meeting new people.

Some of those people are guys.

Single guys.

Single, close-to-my-age guys. Guys I’m in danger of falling for because I’m female and, well, that’s what I do, whether I want to or not. And hopes rise only to be dashed again.

Sure, there’s the possibility this time will be different. But age is my enemy. How many times do you have to be disappointed before hope fades to hesitation and hesitation turns to bitterness, even despair? After all, I tell myself, isn’t it better to expect the worst than to constantly be let down?

I suppose the real question is, am I used to being on my own … or do I hide in my house to protect my heart from pain? And what am I willing to lose out on in order to keep from getting hurt?

Which reminds me of something C.S. Lewis wrote:

Heart

Image courtesy of fotographic1980/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket—safe, dark, motionless, airless—it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable (The Four Loves).

Maybe enjoying my alone time isn’t such a great thing after all.

Maybe it’s okay to be broken.

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4 responses to “Broken … or Lonely?

  1. Carole Brown says:

    It certainly is okay to have your heart broken (again and again) just not wanted!. But you’re okay, friend. That’s life and that’s human and that’s the way God made us. Break and heal. Have a great super day!

  2. sharynkopf says:

    Amen, Carole! At least, that’s what I’m learning. Hope to see you tomorrow. 🙂

  3. Annella Grayce says:

    Thank you for your honesty Sharyn. I’m in the same place.

  4. sharynkopf says:

    Thanks for being part of the conversation, Annella! It’s nice to know there are other people who know where I’m coming from. 🙂

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