Updated: May 23, 2019
The hardest aspect of this whole experience has been the solitude. I have always been a very independent person and have always enjoyed time alone, however I have also always had a very busy social calendar. On an average week I would probably go out to dinner or meet friends for drinks at least a few times a week. And most weekends would be a constant blur of eating and drinking and fun. It was rare to take time out for myself.
So much has changed.
I rarely meet friends for drinks these days. Since September of last year I have cut alcohol out of my life, so unless it’s a birthday or special occasion I will usually bow out. Same goes for eating out, since I’ve also been eating gluten free, dairy free and sugar free, going out to dinner is just not as enjoyable as it once was.
This has been hard for me to deal with because I miss the time with friends. I miss rehashing my week over a glass (or two) of wine. I miss nights out. The camaraderie of fighting for a spot at the bar and spending a night surrounded by like minded people, some I know, most I don’t, but all there for the same reason- to have some fun and forget about life for just a little while.
I don't miss the hangovers, though, so that's a good thing.
I do make dates with friends to walk or eat a healthy meal, but the friends interested in this on weekends are very small in number. I go to yoga classes and breath circles, where I can feel a bit of that same camaraderie, a group gathered in a space to feel a sense of togetherness and belonging there for the same purpose, but it’s not quite the same. Without the lubrication of alcohol groups tend to be more reserved, and it's just different.
So sometimes I do get lonely. There are times when this loneliness is hard and I wish things were different. It’s hard when suddenly your favorite things to do to socialize- eating and drinking- are now off limits. It's hard being a social person, and to have that taken away. There is a part of me that just wants things to be the way they were before I got sick.
But there is another part of me that sees this whole journey as something that I was meant to go through. The "having fun and drinking and going out" side of me is pretty well developed, and maybe this whole experience is the universe showing me how to develop the other parts of myself. The parts I may have been neglecting that wanted to have some attention.
I have learned to accept this place I am in fully and find the good and new opportunities that exist for me. It’s causing me to stretch myself in new ways.
I have chosen to accept and find the good. And so much good has come. I feel more connected to my soul and my body. I have more time to do things I have always put off like meditation and yoga. I am reading more than ever. I am feeling my creativity come alive. I started this blog.
For so long I felt so exhausted, but just kept going and going, without any energy or time left over for creativity or meditation. I would not listen to my body. I would not slow down for anything. It was always go, go, go. But when I look back at myself I think of a hamster on a wheel, always going but going where?
So these days feel more slow. They feel more calm. I am sleeping better and just have so much more mental energy.
I read somewhere that healing is a very lonely place, because no one truly knows what you are going through, and no one else truly knows what you need. And in order to hear what it is that your soul knows you need, you need quiet and solitude. Big epiphanies rarely come to me when I’m in the middle of a group or in conversation. It’s on a walk by the ocean or sitting on my floor after meditation that I feel a calm and a knowing that tells me what my next step should be.
I have learned that the answers are all inside me. To slow down and to listen. So, while the solitude of healing is hard and not always easy, I also realize it is needed and necessary. Life will not always be this way, but for now I am embracing it. Someday I will be back at the bar, fighting for a spot, but for now I’m content staying home on my couch, fighting for a spot there.