When my daughter was small and it was just the two of us, our days felt full and for the most part, satisfying. I was single parenting a delightful human being who wanted nothing more than to be by my side, happily discovering what we would do with each day’s adventure. But the nights were a different story. There was just me after she was tucked into bed, and often-times that felt lonely, like I wasn’t enough for myself or for her. Sometimes I even convinced myself that I had messed up on life, and would be alone forever. A lot of difficult and haunting thoughts came knocking when the dark descended and the sun was no longer high in the sky.
Over time, the difficulty of evening didn’t exactly go away, but I learned how to make friends with it. And when I asked myself what I most needed in those moments, the answer was fairly simple: good healthy food, a bath with a candle lit, a phone call to a friend, a favorite show, a fantastic book. I learned that if I could gift myself these things, the evening became about a deeper relationship… with me. I could remind myself that the lonely or disheartening thoughts and feelings were temporary, products of a culture that puts coupledom at the forefront of a fulfilling life. It took a while for me to realize that I didn’t need to be in a relationship to have a fulfilling life, but I probably would feel that way sometimes. Those were the moments I’d have to look for the doorway to a deeper connection with myself….and then walk through it.