I give more than I take
I can't stand liars
I’m not common
I hate being ignored
I can feel others emotions with my heart
I’m eating peanut butter and jam on toast, still my favourite at 44 years old, in my lovely quiet home which costs me $400/week plus expenses. I'm feeling all nostalgic and romantic so I'll tell you a story.
I would’ve never thought I could afford living like this on my own. I just rent. I gave up trying to save for a deposit to own a house a long time ago. I'm content with renting. I don't have kids. I'm not married. What do I need to own a house for? I like the fact that I can move anytime I want and if something happens, I can call the landlord to fix it.
When I was in my early 20's, I sacrificed my freedom, my happiness, my independence and ruined good relationships which might have actually lasted. I jumped into living together too fast because I thought I needed someone to live with in order to live somewhere nice. It never occurred to me to get a flatmate. It was easy to find a guy who wanted to live together, we became an instant "couple". It seemed practical but I hadn't considered what I'd be giving up to get into this instant committed contract. I was so young and naive. I thought that's what people did.
My aunt once asked me when I told her about a young man I met who wanted me to move to Oklahoma to live with him, "He might want that but what do you want?" The truth was, I had no idea. I loved the adventure and I was never afraid of trying something new. He said he loved me but I wasn't sure I loved him, I thought I'd figure it out after I moved in. This is never a good start to any relationship.
My relationships failed, not because I wasn't meeting nice guys. I believe they failed because the energy I was putting into the relationship was a bit of curiosity, boredom, excitement, desperation and fear of being alone. The relationships weren't based on unconditional love. They moved too fast. The "love" was imbalanced, either I loved them too much or they loved me too much. But either way, it wasn't actually love at all. It became dependency. They were afraid of losing me or I was afraid of losing them. Dependent love is a trap and it eventually fades, fear takes over and someone starts panicking because they are about to lose the security they have grown accustomed to in the relationship.
I hated that feeling so much, I stopped living with anyone. It was a paradox, I ran from love in fear of losing it. Eventually, by the time I reached my early 30's, I became emotionally unavailable to anyone.
I needed to know what it feels like to be 100% alone in this world. It took me a long time to figure it out.
***I want to make note here that I am writing this from the perspective of a childless, unmarried, middle aged woman who still can't grasp that she's in her mid 40's.***
The message I am sharing is that we are all capable of looking after ourselves. There are so many ways to survive and thrive when you are willing to think and search for opportunities. You don't have to live like me, renting a house alone. House sitting is a great way to see the world. Tiny homes on wheels or on a small lot. Live-in care giving. Renting a room in another person's home, feeling good knowing you are helping them pay off debt. (It's healthy to think about helping others and not just ourselves.)
These are all options I’ve considered or tried in the past and would explore if I had to in the future. Would it be easy to let go of my favourite “things”? Nope, not at all. I cry every time I lose a sofa I really like (my solution - I stopped buying sofas). I would probably even store a few precious things until I was ready to let them go. That’s okay. I purposely try to never buy anything I don't need and I up-cycle furniture buying things second hand or free and giving it new life with some paint. So there's truly nothing of value in my house, apart from the love I gave it. I have nothing that I don't really enjoy looking at or using. My house is lovely, it's exactly how I like it. It's not cluttered and the things I have match together perfectly. I can achieve this anywhere with any unwanted furniture. It's all about my style and nothing at all to do with the stuff I own.
Would I have to figure out what I’d do with my dog? Yep. It would be really hard if I had to give him up and I'd do my best to keep him. But if I couldn’t, then I would give him to someone who would absolutely adore him (which wouldn't be hard because everyone loves him and I have a list of people who want him). I would cry for days about it, but I know I’d get over it and so would he. I love him and I just want him to be happy, even if it's not with me. That's unconditional true love.
The aim is to be FREE. Nothing is forever. Don’t become attached to your things or to your surroundings or to the people in your life. People change. Pets die. Jobs get made redundant. I'm being practical, not fatalistic. You can get cancer or have an accident. Anything can happen unexpectedly. It's important that we can let go of everything in order to adapt to changes quickly. I'm somewhat of an expert on this, I speak from experience.
You can live a life of freedom and not necessarily lose your connection to the people, places and things you love (well maybe children... because children are officially an 18 year commitment... but after that please let your children be free too. You aren't doing them any favours by teaching them to remain dependent.)
"Things" tend to accumulate no matter where you go. In fact, by remaining in the same place, around the same people, doing the same things you are actually denying yourself (and others... especially your adult children) the opportunity to connect to even more amazing people, places and things. Get it? We are only limited by what we don’t allow ourselves to experience.
I'm not saying relationships are bad and that you should stay single and never live with a partner. No, that's not what I'm implying. I'm simply speaking for myself, saying that until I learnt to be alone, I was truly unable to enter into a healthy relationship where I wasn't DEPENDING on the other person. It wasn't something I was taught as a child. My parents separated when I was a toddler. I never saw how a healthy relationship worked. My mother was an alcoholic so I raised myself and I left home when I was 16 years old. I lived alone most of my childhood. So to me, love was something I latched onto and smothered the crap out of because I was so afraid it would leave.
Now that I'm in my mid-40's I am waiting for the right partner, so we both enter into a relationship for all the right reasons, interdependently. I've done the dependent thing and I've done the independent thing. Now it's time to meet in the middle. I'm ready, if and when it comes.
My point is that we all need to feel we can make it on our own first. I think we owe that to ourselves, because otherwise we live fearfully, afraid of life alone. All we have in this world is ourselves. If we give up our personal freedom to make other people happy or to live life on other people’s terms or to live in constant fear of the future and dying… well then we’ve missed the entire point of living.
Life is about enjoying, being totally present and trying different things so you can truly say you experienced everything life offered you. Whether it's with the person you love the most in this world or on your own in the comfort of your own space... 100% enjoying the moment for what it is... now.
When I was younger, I ate it for the sake of eating it. It made me happy but it never satisfied my cravings. I didn't think about what I was eating or the quality of the product I was blindly consuming. When I wanted a snack, I made toast and I could eat half a loaf of bread!
As I've gotten older, my choice of peanut butter and jam has changed. I will not lower my standards. Nowadays, I like healthy bread - sour dough or a brown bread with nuts and seeds. I don't like the toast thick. I only eat real peanut butter these days, freshly made if possible, chunky is best. I aim to eat homemade jams, with less sugar. REAL and HEALTHY is what I'm aiming for.
It's so important to not compare one thing to the next, especially when you're young and trying to figure out what you like. Learn to enjoy each one as though they are your favourite snack in the world, different but delicious. Each time you taste something new, you are fine-tuning your perfect combo. It's perfectly okay to like variety, in fact it's wise to try different things. Not all of us are born knowing exactly what we like. We might have been eating the cheap, processed "fake" peanut butter and jam on white bread. It can take a half a lifetime to realize that sweet things rot our teeth and processed "fake" things have no nutritional value whatsoever. When you explore and try other ways of enjoying the thing you love the most, you may just discover that the healthy version is really the best.
I know what I like and how I like it now. I won't just have any old PB&J anymore. It has to match my taste and measure up to my standards. And I don't need to eat it often, just when I feel nostalgic and romantic.
When the right partner comes along, it won't be a difficult decison to want to share space again. The aim is to just be happy whatever you choose together, and keep your heart open to the perfect love combo for you.
*** True love is Freedom ***