The catch-28

February appears to have come out of nowhere. It feels as though January never happened at all, and occasionally I wake up wondering how I suddenly got here, how it all came to this. It’s something I have not addressed here or anywhere else in print because I never knew where to begin, but I realize I should probably get to it anyway, if only to prevent the meltdown that I have thus far successfully staved off.

As some may have guessed or surmised from my Tweets, I am now single. I entered the new year single, and I am likely to stay single, entirely by choice, for a very long time. When people ask me when, how and why it happened, I tell them it happened on December 13 – incidentally my 28th birthday – and it happened because it needed to.

I’m not entirely sure what the last straw was. It could have been that I looked at my bank balance and decided I was not going to spend another waking moment of my life being broke for the sake of another human being. It could have been that I realized I was turning 28 with nothing to my name except a job and therefore needed to build my life all over again. Or it could have been that, at 28, I realized I no longer wanted the same things that I thought I wanted at 25, especially marriage and children. Or it could very simply have been that I just wanted, needed, to be alone.

Whatever it was, it jolted me into focusing on myself for a change and really start securing my future, both financially and professionally. I must point out here that while ‘financially’ and ‘professionally’ may seem a given package, they are both also very separate aspects that almost never complement each other, depending on why one has a profession in the first place.

So finally, on the night of December 26 — yes, it took nearly two weeks for everything to finally come to an end — I found myself sitting in a completely silent house, staring into a closet that was half empty, and looking down a seemingly interminable road of recovery. It felt incredibly sad, but also incredibly liberating. I was alone again, for the first time in three and a half years, and I had never felt more relieved.

That is not to say it does not come without its bad side. Now that I live with only my brother, I’ve stopped going out on weekends, because I no longer feel the need to get out of the house and run away from anything or anyone. That means I am all but a hermit, with only Becca for company most of the time, and the few colleagues that have become great friends. Sometimes it’s almost as if I’ve lost most of my friends – at least the ones I made during the relationship tenure – because I only ever saw them in high-functioning social settings, but I’ve come far enough to know that the ones I do lose are the ones who were never worth having in the first place.

But when people ask me what it’s like being alone again after coming out of my longest relationship to date, I tell them it’s actually not that bad at all. My brother is of absolutely no consequence in my circumstances, so it feels as though I have gone back to my Buffalo days of living alone with nobody to answer to, and I absolutely love it. I now come home to an empty, quiet house, which gives me the time to decompress from my hectic work day, and to my two adorable cats who lie on my lap and at my feet the instant I sit down anywhere. I’ve taken to singing all over the house again, and I get to do everything in my own time without having to think of anybody else.

Does it ever get lonely? Only rarely, very rarely, when I reflect on the last three and a half years of my life which were so completely and utterly immersed into and intertwined with someone else’s. But then reality and common sense take hold and I know that I would rather be alone than waste any more time in a relationship fraught with incompatibility and uncertainty.

So here’s to the rest of… oh, just my life – but a life that is fully and wholly mine again.

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