On freedom, loneliness and walking towards the fear

So, I’ll be honest.

I’m 31 years old and realised that I’ve never had a real actual romantic Valentine. Now, the commercialisation of the holiday aside – I’ve never had one I liked and who liked me back.

Recently, I was speaking to a close friend of mine, about our lives, love and vulnerability. On a professional front, we’re known for not settling in workplaces or roles if we can help it.

Time and time again, I get told that it’s brave to know when you leave a space that no longer serves you.

But, it becomes very easy to forget to stay and to make something work where possible.

For many reasons, I’m a one strike and I’m planning my exit person. As a result, I’ve crafted a life that’s curated to what I want, and what I want alone. I’m not beholden to anyone, I have no children and I have no partner. And like that Charles Bukowski quote; is it freedom or loneliness?

Now, I’m not coming for my own independence. But it’s funny that quitting jobs and knowing that I’ll be fine, isn’t scary to me.

However, I quite literally have to remind myself that romance or romantic vulnerability isn’t a jaw-dropping, terrifying thing.

When you are used to doing things alone, life does feel different. Ultimately, no one is really coming to ease the mental, emotional and physical load. Ultimately, friends can/will help, but it’s really just up to you. Decisions still have to be made.

Will I move? Am I aiming for a promotion? What am I making for dinner?

Why am I this scared?

Most of my romantic relationships have not lasted long. I have not met any significant other’s parents. Never done major holidays and can’t really comprehend doing that either.

I don’t really know what it means to compromise with another person, because I never had to. I haven’t tried to seek that out either.

But the fact of the matter is, you can’t treat people like temporary beings. Like you’re always going to leave.

I can’t build a life with anyone if I’m always anticipating failure. If I’m impossible to pin down, because I’m waiting for the punch line. If I seek out issues because it’s easier to self-sabotage and remain emotionally unavailable.

Being confronted with these kind of truths suck, because it is far easier to be alone.

However, in the last few weeks, I’ve seen the change in not only me, but my peers too. A life curated is beautiful, but a life with lived experiences is what we really want.

“There will be a lot of adapting. There will be a lot of letting go. It is scary but necessary work to make, do, and make do in the service of becoming a version of yourself you can feel content living with. Release the baggage, your scars will be reminder enough of the lessons learned in the process.”

Adam J. Kurtz – You Are Here (for Now): A Guide to Finding Your Way

Sometimes that looks joining skate clubs, going to gym to or staying at an exhibition by yourself so you can engage with people in real life. It means asking for your needs to be met.

It means not ignoring every single attempt someone makes to take you out on a date.

It means being okay with ongoing rejection and experiencing disappointment.

The truth is, I haven’t had a real Valentine because I kinda decided I didn’t want to pursue that. I haven’t exactly made myself open to that possibility. A life isn’t just one or two aspects that are filled to the maximum, things that you can tick off and tie up neatly. It’s all the ugly shit you can’t plan for, including romantic love, daunting career changes and personal life realisations.

So, I’m going to buy myself flowers this month, be grateful for the love I do have in my life and be a little vulnerable or sad.

Day by day, building a life.



2 thoughts on “On freedom, loneliness and walking towards the fear

  1. I resonate so deeply with the idea of a lonely freedm. Of curating a beautiful life that I need not escape from, but over the past few years, I’ve finally had the courage to truly invite my friends and loves into that space. Which is to say, I’ll probably always adore my own sense of lonely freedom, but what a joy to sit beside another while reveling in it. Thank you for sharing this.

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