We had our work Christmas party on Friday. The party itself finished at 5pm but many of us went out afterwards. I’m glad I made the effort, as there were many people who work in the office whose names I didn’t know, let alone conversed with. I finally got to chat with the IT guy (always good to have the IT guy on your side), who it turns out, also went to school with one of my besties (though not in the same year) and who is also a dive master. He promised me a free boat dive in exchange for some free info on some IP related matters. Then there was the one of the logistics guys who happens to live in the same suburb as me (although, only for another 11 weeks). Then there was the Health & Safety guy who I did meet briefly about 5 months ago when I was invited to play netball not long after I started my new job, I recall he nearly knocked me clean over a number of times during that game (so much for safety!) but whether it was that I was never formally introduced to him- or whether it was memory loss from slight concussion- I could never recall his name.
You might have guessed (if I havent mentioned it before) that I work in a slightly male dominated industry. When I first got this job my friends thought it was great as they were convinced I would be able to cherry pick my Mr Right from the abundant numbers of single men in my work place. I was and, remain, unconvinced. Firstly, I have learned that lesson- work and romance do not mix. Secondly, surprisingly few of the men I work with are actually single. Thirdly, though many of them are quite hunky and fit and smart, I find that I am not romantically attracted to a single one of them (possibly because of reasons #1 and #2).
That aside, I have found it extraordinarily difficult to befriend any of them, for reasons that remain a mystery to me although a couple have been brave enough (after realising I am not at all scary) to pipe up and admit that they just expected that I wouldn’t want to get to know any of them. It would seem that despite my best efforts (or maybe because of them- given I still refuse to show up at work without mascara, even if there have been numerous occasions where I have failed to brush my hair), they have all decided I’m a bit of an ice queen 😦
So, after 6 months I am finally starting to make new friends. And it could not have happened at a better time because even though I have been trying not to dwell on the fact that the only male company I have had in the past 7 months is a handful of forgettable and sometimes, atrocious, coffee/lunch dates, the fact is, I think I have been on estrogen overload for the past couple of months. That is not to say that I don’t adore my girlfriends or that I don’t look forward to their company, I do.
BUT in the presence of my girlfriends the topic of conversation always eventually turns to men. Most of the time I am the culprit. However, with male friends, this is rarely a topic available for discussion and sometimes, if I’m not allowed to talk about it, I feel less lonely. However, this does unnerve me a little. I have made a bit of progress lately, I have finally started to feel as though the fog is lifting, albeit slowly, and a little part of me worries that new friends- particularly male friends- are merely a distraction- a way for me to avoid having to face the lesson that I’m supposed to be learning.
I watched a movie over the weekend in which the main character is a recent widow. I felt very much in touch with this character who, even when her husband was alive, never seemed to be happy with what she had in her life, she was always waiting “for her/their life to start”. But the real problem was that she didn’t really know what she wanted, she could see other people around her having babies and seemingly happy and she wanted that happiness- but yet she didn’t want a baby or at least, she couldn’t see how simply having a baby would make her that happy. There is a scene when after he best friend gets engaged, and her sister announces she is pregnant, and the protagonist rejects the new love interest, she quite literally goes running to her mother exclaiming that even though she had found the love of her life (in her now deceased husband), in the end, she is alone, we are all alone.
I too was waiting. Waiting for the maternal urge to naturally kick in when I was still with my ex fiance. But it didn’t. Then when I decided I had found the man I wanted that with, he didn’t want me. And then I found myself back in the situation I found myself in the first time, in a relationship with a man who wanted all of the marriage and family but I didn’t want it with him. In both of those scenarios (my ex fiance and my ex of 7 months), I favoured being by myself over a life with them. Only the first time around, once I had chosen to be on my own, I had Mr X to keep me company when I didn’t feel like being alone, so I handled my singledom with carefree ease, possibly because I wasnt really alone – I still had someone in my life who was a possibility. This time, however, I have not had that. So in my loneliest of moments, there has been no Mr X to watch movies on the couch with or yabber on about the future with or to dive or cycle with. There is only me, and consequently, no hope of that changing anytime soon. So, perhaps, if I can just get comfortable with my own company, then I will finally be ready for the love of my life to waltz in.
It’s easy to have a breezy attitude and be positive about being single when you have someone in your life who you see as a possible partner in the future. It’s easy to convince yourself that you learned the lesson about being comfortable with ‘just you’ when you know you can simply pick up the phone during a dark moment and know you can have male company (platonic though it may be), to help you feel less lonely. I think what I didn’t really appreciate the first time around was that in order to really get the lesson it’s perhaps best not to have that.
So, whilst I have my new-found friends to engage in the activities, which none of my girlfriends really have any interest in, I think I will be conscious to not rely too closely on them to relieve my discomfort. Aside from the fact that I have no “interest” in these men (and the feeling is mutual), I do want to refrain from thinking that perhaps these new friends are the link to finding my Mr Right. I need to stop focussing on where and when I might meet my future Mr Right and instead focus on making myself happy.
This, after all, is one lesson I do not want to have to learn a third time.