There comes a point in all of our lives when we just need to be left alone, to think, to love and breathe without the opinions of others dictating our paths. And being alone isn’t a bad thing. It gives us peace of mind from all the distractions and obstacles that hold us back. Mostly, the people that hold us back. We try to convince ourselves that we are trying to be the people we want to be but at some point, we realize that we are really living for is expected of us. And that realization, while known subconsciously, takes a different perspective when we actually acknowledge that we are bound by the expectations of others.
Researchers at the University of Virginia conducted 11 experiments on how well people tolerate a few minutes of alone time. The research found that while most of us want quiet tine, we have a hard time tolerating too much time without people vying for our attention. I am at a point in my life where I have to disagree with that. I feel like it depends on the nature of the relationships in your life. I cannot live a life that involves people vying at my attention when I don’t have it to give. Obviously, there are exceptions to the rule but it is really more about me getting older.
Grown children, siblings, elderly parents, so-called friends, employers – how much can a person be sandwiched trying to please everyone? Benjamin Franklin said that death and taxes were the only two things certain in this life. I disagree – he forgot the crap in between. He didn’t realize that a modernized society would complicate our lives. He didn’t know single moms would be a dominant feature in the 21st century. He didn’t realize that over 50% of the workforce would be women who were not only breadwinners but also bread makers.
Mr. Franklin, like many, couldn’t have imagined a world that involved single mothers trying so hard to live to every expectation of society. I couldn’t when I was a little girl. I thought one day I’d find my Prince Charming and we would live happily ever after in our beautiful home with our white picket fence and our well-behaved and smart children. I didn’t get any of that right. I got three children (almost grown) living overseas with their father always vying for my attention, not realizing what kind of life I have here. I have two children here who need me to be both mom and dad. I work two jobs and I live with two chronic illnesses. My life has other priorities. I have to be more than anyone else in my life has to be and I have to do it alone.
Prince Charming isn’t anywhere in sight. He sure isn’t here painting walls, repairing things, and planning a move. He is not even anywhere in my imagination. He is not here helping me to feel better when it feels like I am alone because the people who are supposed to be here keep letting me down. He is not here when it feels like it is my kids and me against the world. And, in some respects, I am glad he is not here. Because so far, he has only been Mr. Wrong. What is the point of Price Charming if I have to change for him? Or that he would have to change for me? Because that has been my only experience thus far.
Change or being someone that I am not has been my theme for too long in hopes of pleasing others. And it has gotten me nowhere. I have decided if people cannot accept me as I am, they can keep their distance. I know I am a handful. I know I am strong, independent and I am opinionated. And I am human and I make mistakes just the like the next person.
But I don’t need to be reminded of my flaws and I have been reminded way too much. I have a big heart and I know it but sometimes, that big heart gets is stepped all over. I have had people’s backs and when push came to shove, they turned their backs on me. They treated me badly even simply because I wouldn’t allow them to get me down. I have been let down, put down and judged harshly for too much of my life but I finally decided I am too old for this crap. And if people can’t see that I just want to be left alone rather than living up to impossible expectations, it is their loss. I don’t think being left alone is too much to ask.