My biggest fear was always winding up alone. But I’ve spent my life pulled in two completely different directions. There’s the loyal part of me that has stayed close to home, to my family, and that keeps me stuck in some ways. Don’t get me wrong, I love my family and enjoy spending time with my niece and nephew, but my family inherently expects so much from me that there never seems to be any time left for me. I cannot seem to find that happy medium and when I try to I get accused of not giving enough of myself over to them.
Then there’s the other half of me. She’s been drawn to move away to a big city for many years. I wish I could go back in time and never graduate college early – that last semester could have been so much fun, just taking courses I wanted since I had all my credits, just enjoying being young while I still could. I was in so much of a hurry to grow up, move out, be on my own. Truthfully, I wanted to give my boyfriend at the time, and myself, a real chance and because he and my family did not get along, it helped matters greatly that I was able to graduate and be out on my own.
But here we are years later and I never followed my heart to a big city, never went somewhere where maybe I could have met someone simply due to the larger population. I never took that chance and now I’m grounded, with responsibilities and I can’t go. I’m not sure I’d have the courage to start all over again anyway. I feel like so much of my life has been about starting over.
I love my family. I love my parents. They were good parents, but they were very strict. I was desperate to find my own way and to be free to do so. I wasn’t a bad seed, I didn’t experiment with drugs or alcohol. I didn’t break the law. I got good grades, great ones actually. I studied hard. I worked my butt off. Some part of me felt like they never realized how lucky they were that I was such a good child.
I felt so much pressure from them and from my boyfriend at the time. I was completely torn in two and I don’t think anyone saw that. I slapped on a smile. I faked it every day. People never saw what was happening inside me. I was crumbling. I was supposed to be excited and young and on the verge of great things, but I was weighed down with stress, fear, pressure. Maybe it was all my own doing, I don’t know. He didn’t like them, they didn’t like him and I was in the middle. I was confused and frustrated and I tried to talk to people, but the words either didn’t come or they sounded like a foreign language because no one seemed to understand me back then.
I won’t go into the details of my move. Let’s just say I was out of the house within weeks of my college graduation and it wasn’t a pleasant time. My family was upset with me and many of them were not even speaking with me. I started out on my own with very little – basically what I could fit in my car. I was naive enough to believe that hard work and love would fill the voids.
My boyfriend and I didn’t last. Instead I was alone and although I’d proven to myself I could make it on my own, which did give me some warm fuzzies, I was still alone. Some family never forgave me. I even got a letter from one relative about how much I’d caused hurt to my family and all the reasons I was going to hell. Let’s just say that letter gave new meaning to twisting religion.
I was out of the house less than a week when one of my best friends died. I miss him to this day. We spoke just a day before he passed. I’ll never forget that phone call. But I digress….
So here I am 15 years later and I’m not sure how much further in life I really am. I’m still feeling very much alone. I resolved most issues with my family. We’ve been through a lot since then. I’m closer with my father than I ever was before all that. My sister and I are ok, but our relationship has never fully healed. The only time we really talked about some of those old unresolved issues was about two years ago, before my surgery. I left the conversation feeling as though she understood as little as when it started. I love her, but I guess we just have to agree to disagree on some things.
I think that’s why I’m writing tonight. I feel as though I give a lot of myself to my family – my mother, father, uncle, sister, brother-in-law, niece, and nephew. Sometimes they don’t feel the same. I think it’s because I’m single. My mother and my sister expect more because somehow since I’m single I must have the time. But what happens inevitably is that in order to make that time, I lose something. I lose myself or my freedoms. I work all week. I’m getting older now and I’m tired most nights, but I try to force myself to do something once or twice during the week – exercise, or something simple. I don’t go out much on a weeknight anymore, so I plan most fun things for weekends. I try to leave time for my family too. The thing is they don’t always ask me if I want to come to something. They simply expect that I will since I must have nothing else going on. Because I’m single you know…..when I do have a conflict, I’m accused of not being loyal or there enough if I dare to spend the time on myself.
I actually think there’s a part of my sister that misses that freedom of being single. So to some degree maybe that’s where her frustrations come from. Still, I twist myself up like a pretzel and it will never be good enough, or so it feels. And in the end I wonder, if that’s true, should I have just lead my life 100% for me, would I have less regrets?
I feel like I’m 60+ years old. I feel like the best of my life is behind me. I feel unable to grab back my youth. I’m afraid that I’ve made my biggest fears reality, because I never spent any time caring for me. So here I am, broken inside, alone, and I don’t know how to meet anyone anymore. And I never went to the big city and tried life there for a while.
This is not a midlife crisis, this is a yearly crisis within me. I’m always second guessing where life has led me and I can’t go back and I can’t fix it. I can’t do it differently. But I so wish God would give me a sign that I did the right things, and that therefore, I won’t be tortured with my biggest fears realized, but instead will be rewarded with a chance to actually find happiness myself. Oh God, if only you could help me. Because I am headed down a road I can’t seem to stop and my life isn’t bad, but it isn’t all full either. And when my family is gone and I the youngest am still here, I’ll be all alone. I’ll have reached the end with my biggest fear at every turn laughing at me. Is it so wrong to wish that I can have a life that is mine too, that I can find love, that I won’t be alone someday?