Tuesday, January 1, 2013

I Haven't Been Single for This Long Since High School

As I started reflecting on 2012 I came to the realization that I have gone a whole calendar year as a single person. Widowed. Not in a relationship. Unattached. Checking that box that coincides with not married. Alone. I also realized that it has been a certain brand of shall we say EXTREME SINGLENESS as in the haven't-even-been-kissed-sort AND that I haven't gone a whole calendar year as a single person since I was in high school. Those were all pretty striking realizations for me.

If you had told me last New Years Eve that I would be spending this New Years Eve without a significant other I probably would have been pretty sad. Last New Years was tough for me. I missed kissing my Joe at midnight and falling asleep next to him. If you had told me last year that come January 1, 2013 I would *still* be single, it would have been a hard pill to swallow and would have left me even more fearful of 2012. But something amazing happened this past year and I'm glad I didn't go into it with a crystal ball.

The truth is that I didn't even notice my singleness until the end of the year. Now, don't get me wrong. There were plenty of times when I was lonely and plenty of times when I missed Joe. There was even a moment in time around August when I realized that I am open to another relationship if the right guy in the right circumstance comes along. But in looking back over this year, I have realized that my singleness in 2012 has allowed space for so many other things. And that has been amazing.

-A stronger Mother/Son bond. My relationship with the little guy has deepened during this time when it has been "just the two of us". During those traditional "family" times like Saturday mornings and Sunday evenings, it is now the two of us so we are spending more time cuddling, playing, even just vegging out in front of the TV. That time has been invaluable.

-Deeper friendships and new friends. This year I have been able to pay more attention to some of the important friendships in my life and welcome new friends into my life. Afghan Whigs fan friends. Runner friends. Mother friends. Afghan Whigs Mother Runner friends. I know that I have formed some lasting friendships which will last through life's ups and downs and I know that's what really matters.

-Running. I started in the spring as a way to get back in shape and found not only a way to improve my health but a healthy way to work through my grief. In mid-August, I started on some regular training runs and since then I have logged 159 miles. In March, I will run my first ever half marathon and in 2013 I have set a goal of running a total of 13 races. Running and the people I have met through running have been such a positive force in my life this year.

-Spiritual growth and discernment. I'm thankful for the spaces and people who have led me deeper in my faith this year. They have challenged me to keep moving forward in my grief journey while allowing me to be honest with what I am experiencing. Spiritual direction. Grief support groups. My church's praise band. Other places of worship I have visited. Even sermons and blogs I have read on Twitter and Facebook. This has been a tremendous year of self discovery and spiritual growth for me.

-Afghan Whigs Reunion Tour. No point in belaboring this one. If you follow my blog even casually, you know that this has been a centerpiece to my year. I *think* my final show count was 10 and it included travel from Toronto to NOLA to Cincinnati and many spots in between. We capped it off with an epic road trip to the New Years Eve show last night in Cincinnati which may very well be the last time the band ever plays together. These shows were like church for me this year and I'm so thankful I was able to go to so many of them with so many wonderful people.

-Travel. The little guy and I saw Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons. We visited some spots in Florida that were special to his Dad and me. We took the Maid of the Mist boat cruise to see Niagara Falls. He met Mickey and Minnie and Goofy and Donald and Daisy and Woody and Buzz and the list goes on and on.

-The Mets! The little guy and I brought countless family members and friends to cheer on the Mets this year and win or lose we enjoyed ourselves. We saw R.A. Dickey's 19th win from our seats at Citifield and while we watched Santana's no hitter from my parents' house, it was truly a memorable year to be a Mets fan.

With each of these things I'm not sure I would have ended up where I did in 2012 if not for my singleness. I had space to concentrate on the many parts of my life that exist outside from a romantic relationship. Perhaps, a year of doing that has brought me right to the place to be ready for one in 2013 and maybe the person who is right for me will fit perfectly into my time with the little guy and my friends, will share a similar spiritual journey, will want to travel, will also be a baseball fan, will enjoy running, and will like the Afghan Whigs. Of course, if that's not the case, I'm confident there will be something equally exciting that God will send my way to fill me up. Somehow, empty is never something I have used to describe my life and for that I am thankful.

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