Will it always be this way?

Will it always be this way?

All alone in a crowded room. Have you ever felt this?

Loneliness is as real as me and you. It’s both scary and exhilarating at the same time. It can be all-consuming and painful. It can rip us to our core with self-doubt and introspection.

I worked thirteen of the last twenty-four hours, getting off work at five this morning. I then slept from about 6 a.m. until noon. Then I got myself up, made some coffee on the rocks, showered, dressed, and put on my new shoes to meet a good friend for a lunch date we had planned a week ago. My friend is going through it. She recently lost a loved one and has really been struggling. Like me, she is a single woman who works a lot. I was all ready to go when she texted and said she couldn’t make it. She was having a really rough day. I encouraged her to come anyway in hopes the distraction was what she needed but she declined.

Sitting on my bed, I wondered what to do next. Hungry, ready to leave the house (something I rarely do), and left with nothing to do, I texted my adult daughter to see if she wanted to grab lunch. She was busy. I try another friend. Also busy. So, I went alone. I sat in my local brewery/eatery with a meatball sub and the Britney Spears memoir and looked at all the people around me.

Families, friends, couples. I wanted to cry. I want to cry now as I write this.

I have family. I have a lot of family. Unfortunately, other than my children, my closest relative is over an hour away. My parents have passed on from this life, my siblings live in other states. My ex-husband’s family used to be my family. We would have the biggest and greatest get togethers with the kids all playing together while the adults socialized and razzed one another. But eight years ago my husband and I decided to move out of state and that was the beginning of the end of life as we knew it. When we moved back to Illinois, our relationship was barely hanging on and I was no longer seen as part of my in-law’s family.

That loss was massive for me. I didn’t grow up here. I am here because I fell in love with a country boy and assimilated into his world and now, I’m stuck. But even if I wanted to leave, where would I go? Where would I feel less lonely? I’ve been here twenty-four years (more or less). I have no family or friends in my hometown. Move closer to my siblings? They both have their own lives and I have a clause in my divorce saying I can’t move more than fifty miles away from my ex-husband while my kids are still minors.

Like I said: I’m stuck.

I have friends. I have a small handful of good friends. And then I have a lot of those friends where we say were going to get together but never do. My good friends have lives of their own. Husbands, kids, parents, in-laws, pets. I have the friends who will say, “I’m here if you need me,” and the ones who will read this and think, “Same, Sarah, same,” but how do you text a coworker from ten years ago and say, “Hey, I’m really lonely and want to cry and can’t help but wonder if it’s always going to be this way,”?

I mean, if they texted me those words, I have no idea what I’d say.

I gave up on dating about a year ago. The last date I went on, I couldn’t help but think about how I’d rather be writing through the whole date. I’m a part of a great community of writers and readers online, but I don’t know those people. And no matter how much they support me and my dreams, no matter how many books I sell, I still lack that connection.

Now it’s just me and my cats and my kids and none of them talk to me unless it’s to ask for money or to tell me about their online adventures. Well, to be fair, the cats only talk to me when I wake up past their designated mealtime.

Why can’t I be someone’s person? Why am I eating alone in restaurants with a book? Why don’t I have a tribe or a group I feel like I belong to? Is it a subconscious choice? Is it my consistent choice to work and write versus socializing? It’s not. Whenever someone asks me to do something, unless I’m working, I say yes. Because I am desperate for that human connection.

I am sad. I am worried I will always be alone. I don’t want that. But finding connections with people is so hard. My hobbies include writing and books. I like cats and coffee. Maybe I just live somewhere where there aren’t other people like me. Maybe I’m an anomaly. But I know I’m not the only one who feels this way.

I have no answers, so I hope you didn’t read this hoping to find some. I’m not looking for sympathy or shallow offers of camaraderie. There is so much that I have that others don’t and for that I am beyond thankful. But what I wouldn’t give to have that connection with someone. To have a soul mate, whether it be a friend or something more.

That’s it. That’s the post.