The Lonely Adult

I never knew being an adult would be so lonely.

There. I said it.

I’ve accepted that adulting is hard. I’m resigned to the fact that being a grown up isn’t the cake walk of freedom, independence, and no bedtime that I was led to believe it would be.
But I’m only just realizing that it is lonely. And I’m not sure if that’s my fault, or if it’s simply my perception, or if my mind is just messing with me as I approach the downhill slope toward 40. And while I don’t wish the feeling on anyone else, in a way, I do hope it isn’t just me and my over-active imagination.

When you’re a kid, you have friends. You go to school and you meet people. I suppose I had this idea that being an adult and having a job would be much the same. I have friends. Lots of friends. I have a small circle of friends I’m really close with, though for one reason and another we don’t get to just hang out much.  I sometimes feel a bit sad, maybe even a bit left out, when I see people meeting for lunch, laughing over appetizers, and visiting each other just to chat. But everyone, including myself, is so damn busy.

Busy.

Busy.

Busy.

I’m one of the least busy people I know. Maybe that’s part of the reason it seems like a lonely time of life. I am not a fan of busyness. I don’t want to be one of those families who is running from one practice to another, to a game, to a recital, to a business dinner, to a lecture, to a volunteer meeting….I do not function well in that kind of situation. A week when we have things going on just 3 or 4 nights puts me in a stupor from which it takes another week to recover! Thankfully, at least so far, my kid is very similar. She’s even more of a homebody than I am, so we don’t have the, “But I never get to do anything,” fight. (Yet.)

But still, when I look around, I see people doing things, going places, having lunch dates, and I think, “Am I just a complete and total weirdo???”

Now, I’m the first to admit, that I AM a bit of a weirdo. If I’m honest, I know that the things I like to do, and to see, and the places I enjoy going, are a bit different in many ways. I don’t know a lot of 39 year old moms who will happily spend an entire afternoon playing Skyrim or trying to get every single stud in a Lego video game. In pretty much any social situation I find myself in, I’m the only so-called mature adult geeking out over the latest Marvel movie news or Harry Potter collectible. I don’t remember the last time I met someone who had read Les Miserables or the Lord of the Rings trilogy and actually wanted to sit down and discuss it over coffee. And, although my daughter enjoys Celtic music with me, she doesn’t get quite get my obsessive delving into the history of the songs and researching every single song every single artist I like has recorded.

(*sidenote* I’m so thankful to live in a world with the internet! I’ve “met” so many people who are like-minded, who enjoy the same things, and have made a few priceless friendships that I hope to keep forever!)

A few years ago, I decided to see Once, the Musical, when it toured a couple of hours from me. My husband and some family members couldn’t understand why I would go alone. I went alone because a.) I could laugh and cry to my heart’s content without worrying about someone with me thinking I was losing it, and b.) I didn’t know anyone who would be interested in going. At least, not the kind of interested that would accept my level of laughing and crying. (See point A.)

I’m the type of fan who doesn’t “like” things. I tend to obsess. I don’t know why. When I get interested in a song/show/book/movie/artist, etc, I want to find out EVERYTHING I can about it. When I read Les Miserables a few years ago, I wanted to study it. My husband laughed (and poked a bit of fun) at my Les Mis binder, in which I collected maps, notes on the history surrounding the story, the French Revolution, and Victor Hugo himself.

As much as I enjoy not having a bunch of obligations, I do like to go places and experience things. I just don’t get to all that often. Or at least I haven’t, for the most part. Going to see a musical on my own a couple of years ago did a lot for me. And I’ve decided now, seeing as I love musicals, that I am going to do my best to see at least one every year. I’ve never been a huge concert-goer, they just aren’t my thing. But I did treat myself and my daughter to seeing Celtic Thunder last year. It was such a great experience, just going and enjoying the music, singing along, and seeing these guys whose voices I adore up close! I’m going to see two of my favorite artist from the group in a small concert later this year. And I’m super excited!

I share all of this because, like I said in my last (mostly incoherent post), I figure there has to be another person or two out there who feels much the same as I do. I can’t be the only one. And if that is you, Reader, I hope I can encourage you not to wait until someone wants to go with you to see that show or that concert or that movie. It’s ok to enjoy things by yourself. (Besides, you don’t have to share the popcorn that way!) It’s wonderful to find someone who likes the same things you do, someone with whom you can be your full-on geeky self, but be ok with your own company too. It’s lonely sometimes, but it’s freeing too. And you never know, you just might meet someone else who likes the same things you do and find a friend for life.

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