In the last few weeks I’ve had many conversations with people who were either crying, on the verge of tears, or likely had cried that morning – myself included. I’ve recognized that the theme seems to be my single friends, but it’s not owned by us in this space, trust me. There is a good chance that I hear this from them more because we have time to actually talk, we aren’t bombarded by children pulling on our faces all day long and we are worried about the state of the world, plus we lean on each other instead of a spouse or significant other in this way.
Last year, while in India and having a moment (maybe THE moment) during my year of traveling and was overwhelmed by moving so often and being unsure of where I was going next, I was given advice. It was around this idea of when in crisis the best thing to do is to come to the aid of someone else and the importance of helping someone out. Focus on others and it may help you stay calm as well.
This advice has stuck with me. Most often it is what brings me out of my own funk. When a friend calls or I help someone out it takes my mind off myself. Obviously, we all need to think about ourselves, and every other article these days talks about self-care and the only way to be there for others is to take care of yourself. This is all true, but the reality for those of us who live alone, don’t have a partner, have no children, is that to some extent all we do is think about ourselves – not in a selfish way in a what is right in front of us, is, us. It might seem glorious when you don’t have it, but let me tell you, it can be exhausting.
Before you say the grass is always greener – I get it, I know it is. I also understand the challenges and struggles and everything else about going through quarantine global pandemics with 1, 2, or 6 kids, with worrying about a parent or grandparent, and all the other hurdles thrown our way. But, in this moment I’m choosing to talk about me, as a single person – who is incredibly grateful for my family who live close by, but who also can be lonely, frustrated, and sad about the world around me.
I’m a 35-year-old single woman. I’m grateful for every opportunity that I’ve had, but I happen to job hunting at the moment. Not because I got laid off or furloughed, but because of timing, not that it matters. It means I have tons of time for self-care, just when I really don’t want it. When I think about myself I do yoga and start running, I cook, I bake, I eat all of those things and feel the need to go on a third walk of the day. I gave up on sour dough because I am not a scientist. I’ve tried learning a language, volunteering my time, and binged watched the West Wing. I’m apparently a plant mom. This is all nice, but honestly the sitting and applying to jobs, and trying to figure out myself in this world right now isn’t easy, sitting at home being reminded many days that these huge new transitions of work from home, school from home, milestones for others and their families, they don't feel like they are happening for me right now. It makes it hard. So, I check in on yet another friend and keep on moving. In it’s own way, it’s exhausting.
I wrote parts of this weeks ago, some elements have changed, most have not. So this is me, helping others, or just putting it out there...take a minute. Check in on someone else. Someone you think doesn’t need checking in on. That strong friend who is always there for others. The person who is all over social media, or never on it. The one you haven’t heard from in a minute. Why? Because it may help you as well.
We are all in a state of weirdness. There is this incredible layer that just exists in this moment beneath each of us, married, single, working or not. For each of us the thickness of that layer ebbs and flows, with highs and lows – it’s actually just called life. But with a shift of season we feel it differently, it piles up, and slims down. The hardest day can be the day that helps define the next move, but then you have another hard day and it feels like it’s never ending. Help someone else get through theirs or be there on the other side for them. It makes it so we all know there will be someone there for us too.