In my "back in the blogging saddle" post from several months back, I mentioned that I won't spend another birthday alone if I have anything to say about it. The thing is, I pretty much always have something to say about it, as I did on my birthday in 2017 that ended up being lonelier than I anticipated. I planned a day full of good things on my own and encouraged Barry to go on a fun work-related trip that couldn't be scheduled for any other time. When I realized on the day of my birthday that I would have preferred company to being by myself, I could have reached out to friends and asked them to tag along with me to all the fun stops I made that day. I could have, but I didn't. I rarely (okay, never) reach out to friends for impromptu hang outs. But the memory of how lonely I felt that birthday along with a conversation that I had with Elizabeth, my friend for over thirty years, about reaching out (or failing to do so) to friends to connect in person have me thinking a lot about the time I spend alone and the habits I've developed that result in me being alone more often that I want to be.
Don't get me wrong - I do love spending time on my own. I've gone on and on about that in the past, and I had one of the absolute best weekends ever a few months ago, completely solo. But sometimes I'd like a companion with me when I do those things that I often do on my own. Like when I go shopping for plants. Or when I stop by a craft show. Or when I go to the park on a hot, sunny day. Not big plan-ahead things, just regular hanging out type stuff. And sometimes I'd like a companion when I want do the things that, partially for safety's sake, I'm not always comfortable doing by myself. While I've contemplated doing it many times, I've never gone backpacking alone. I won't go on long hikes alone where the chances are good that I might not run into other hikers. And I'd often prefer to have a friend with me when I go mountain biking instead of going alone. Those are the things that I often do with Barry, or that Barry and I do with other friends. But they're not things that I typically do without Barry. And to be honest, I feel pretty lame about that.
I have lots of excuses for why I haven't reached out to friends for impromptu get-togethers or for more plan-ahead activities:
I don't have a cell phone, so calling or texting someone to arrange something on the fly isn't possible. I often can't easily get in touch with someone to say, "What are you doing right now? Want to meet me somewhere soon?" I also can't be part of group texts which (I gather from my friends) keep people connected in ways that I just can't be a part of.
I have non-traditional weekends, so planning a weekend camping or backpacking trip with most of my friends isn't possible unless somebody takes a day off of work.
I think that because I do like to be alone a lot, I've given the impression to some of my friends that I only like to do things on my own. I don't reach out to them, they don't reach out to me, and so goes the cycle.
So that's where I'm at. Trying to figure out how to make the leap into doing fewer things alone. Suggestions? Experiences to share? I'm all ears.