After experiencing an allergic reaction the night before, I slept in and took my time getting ready. I searched for things to do and attempted to go to two different places, but they were both closed when I arrived. I went to Wal-Mart to get some Benadryl and then cooked some food.
It was pouring rain and I was extremely bored. I watched TV, something I hadn’t really done in the last few months. After a while, I paced around wondering what I could do. Maybe it was the rain, maybe it was being in the suburbs, or maybe it’s just me.
Even as a kid, I would get so bored in the summer when school was out of session. I would whine around the house, complaining there was nothing to do. My poor mom would suggest cleaning my room, which I rejected.
Sometimes the feeling of boredom is so powerful, and I feel like I’ll lose my mind. If my mind is not stimulated in some way, it feels like torture. I watched TV, looked outside at the rain, cleaned out my email, and wondered what else I could do. The clock ticked painfully away as I stared at it. I could have been writing, but I didn’t feel like it. I purposely wanted to spend a week there so I could relax. Maybe I’m not capable of relaxing?
The next morning I went for a run, and it felt good to get some exercise. I was cooking up some breakfast when an old coworker called me asking for some advice on his career. It was good to talk with him and to feel useful again. It made me miss work a little bit and the routine that it brings.
Sometimes having so much freedom and free time feels overwhelming. I have to constantly make decisions on how to spend my time. Before, I would get up and go to work. After work, maybe I’d workout, eat dinner, watch some TV and go to bed. On weekends I worked out, cleaned my house, ran errands, and hung out with friends.
Now it often feels like I’m going to make the wrong decision and miss seeing something. Or I worry that I’ll waste the day, so I see what there is to do in whatever city I’m currently in. Having freedom requires constant decision making.
In the late afternoon, I drove to Vancouver and battled horrible traffic for an hour and a half, only to arrive at the Capilano Suspension bridge right before they closed. They recommend that I come back because I wouldn’t have time to see everything. Frustrated, I got back into traffic and headed back to the burbs.
I stopped at Hard Rock casino and gambled. I ended up walking away with a free dinner, entertainment for two hours, and about 20 extra dollars in my pocket.
The following day, I tried to go to a few historical sites, but the road near the house was closed. I asked the girl directing traffic what was going on. She said they were filming something and the place I was trying to go to was closed for two weeks.
A grade school had just let out, and parents were lining up to pick up their kids. It struck me as a world I knew nothing about. I was always at work when schools were letting out, and I don’t have children. There are times like this that make me sad that I haven’t experienced that world. A whole life of running kids from school to practice and making sure homework gets done.
Eventually, I made it to a tourist garden where I ate a pastry and had some coffee. After walking around the garden for a while, I drove to Mill lake. The lake had a great walking path all around it and it was a beautiful, rain-free day.
I walked all the way around the lake as three women in workout clothes power walked, a couple held hands, two men at a picnic table read bibles, and a young couple kissed at the end of the pier.
There were tables with men playing cards, a group of middle-school-aged kids hanging out, and two older women passing me saying, “Nothing can damage me. It can hurt me, but it can’t damage me.”
As I rounded the last part of the lake, a girl in her early 20s was pushing a stroller while frantic on the phone, “Alia put her finger into a mushroom and then into her mouth. Do you think she’ll be ok? Well, the inside was squishy.”
I drove back to the house feeling rejected. I was supposed to hang out with Ian that evening and he messaged me saying he was going to the gym after work and wouldn’t have time. I know we weren’t dating, but I was angry that I had reserved time for him and he brushed me off.
I was feeling incredibly rejected and lonely – the feeling of not being good enough for someone to choose me over working out. The feeling of not being a priority to anybody.
My friend Debbie called me that evening for our weekly FaceTime call. She asked how I was doing, and I couldn’t pretend. I broke down sobbing, telling her how rejected I felt. She was so patient and understanding. She told me how she understands, and life is not easy to go through without a partner.
I got more frustrated when I realized that even though I’m an independent person, I still long for a partner. I end up letting guys like Ian make me feel unwanted and rejected. I hate that I let them have power over me. I don’t want my self-worth to be tied to someone else. It’s a pattern I continually fall into.
Through the snot and tears, Debbie helped me understand I’m not alone, and I have a lot to offer someone. She assured me that lots of people struggle with not having a partner and things will get better.
After I got off the phone, I went to a local restaurant and sat at the bar. I ordered a glass of wine and an appetizer. The place was mostly empty and I read articles on my phone about how betrayal in your relationship leaves you scarred for a while. One website stated, “Suddenly the rug has been pulled out from under your feet, leaving an incredible sense of loss and bewilderment behind as you become companion-less.”
Maybe it’s not just me. Maybe the betrayal in my marriage and the aftermath it causes takes a while to move past. I went to bed and prayed that the loneliness would go away.
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