Some days, when you are busy and focused on other things, you feel ok with this stage of life. You paint it with colored words like “exciting” and “audacious” and “full of possibilities.” On those days, being alone is not “lonely” - it’s “beautiful” and “romantic” (in a wistful, emo-drama, Emily Dickinson kind of way). You do a-ok.
But some days, that perspective gets lost and being alone just hurts. It’s ugly, and it’s hard to accept, hard to sit with, wishing (as you do) that there was something that could just be done about it. It all feels impossible, or at least improbable. You think about addicts going through withdrawal and wonder if that’s in any (small) way like what you feel now – creepy-crawly skin and an inability to sit still.
Luckily, these days are not the majority of your some days. And when they arrive – unwelcomed – you keep busy until you run out of busyness. Then you grab a paperback novel and some sunglasses. You go and sit on a bench by the river and you pretend to read, but really you’re just breathing. In and out, repeat.
Your mind races and you dabble in bad theology, wondering why God has it out for you. You cry a little; that’s what the sun glasses are for. You hope the passing roller-bladers and bicyclists don’t notice your trickling tears. They don’t. (Listen, girly: Think you’re the first person ever to sit on a bench by the river, shedding sorrow? Nope.)
And so you sit, and sit, and sit. And you breathe your way back to an even keel. And this is how you pass the afternoon, because sometimes the only thing to be done is to pass time. And time will pass. And bad theology will recess. And anxiety fades. And eventually you pick yourself and that paperback novel up off the bench and start walking.
That’s just how some days go.