I am going to call this period of my life, “the lonely times.”
I went from my parents’ house, to dorm rooms, to living with friends or family, then back to my parents house. However, about 4 months ago I was offered a job 3 hours away from where I lived with my parents, but still in close proximity to my friends, which I had been driving 6 hours every weekend to hang out with. The timing and location of the job offer appeared nearly serendipitous as it was in my exact career field, near my friends and I had lived with my parents for nearly a year at that point and was itching for an adventure.
I found a small one bedroom within a few blocks of my office at a good price and began the journey of moving in. Blindly I had assumed that my generally outgoing nature and awesome group of friends would have kept me preoccupied when I was out of work but now 4 months later my life has developed to be far more different than I could have imagined. For the first time in my life, I am truly alone and starting to build a life over again.
You’re probably wondering about my friends, well, they aren’t anymore. When you only see someone in short increments you see their “vacation-y side.” This is the part of them that’s always seeking fun and adventure, never complains about finances and generally always looks nice. It’s not the real them. Now that I live closer, we have all seen the real each other and found that our lifestyles don’t coincide. There’s nothing wrong with that, it’s a part of developing your own niche.
When I think about developing my own niche it honestly stresses me. There’s something bizarrely permanent about setting up life in and area or developing real relationships with people, and that scares me deeply. I often worry I’ll meet someone and grow to love their companionship so dearly that I’ll put aside my own desires to assimilate myself into their life. Then one day I’ll wake up and realize, I never hiked the Grand Canyon, or went on an African safari. I’m afraid I’ll give up too much of myself and replace it with parts of someone else. I think it must be great for some people who find the perfect person or group of people to blend their lives with. Having someone to open the jam jar or kill the spider in the bathroom, all see like wonderful things. The problem with me is, I can do those things myself.
Still, people need companionship, I romanticize the idea of being a complete loner but even I slip into bed at night and say a little prayer thanking God for my puppy to cuddle with. I need life around me, and while people have been quick to suggest dating websites or singles groups, that’s not exactly the type of life I need around me. I need freedom and adventure so much I nearly quit my job to couch surf (still considering it). I need to nurture something and develop a deep for of love and concern, and unfortunate when you do this with living people you end up being drained of your compassion.
So, I bought plants. Not just a couple either. I bought a lot of plants. It’s interesting to me that plants need so much care, water, fertilizer, sunlight and yet they can’t tell me what they need. I need to watch them and study them. I must look every day to make sure they are growing and thriving and if they’re not, I need to figure out why.
Being a plant mom is probably the hardest thing I’ve ever done. My puppy can bark when he has needs, but my plants just shrivel up and die when they lack proper attention. Sometimes I am a plant. I shrivel up, slowly dissolving into dried up pieces of what I once was. But now that I have something living to nurture and grow with, I have found life… I found friends that also tend to indoor plants as a hobby. When you look deep inside to find who you are, you’ll be surprised to see what you find. When you let those desires lead you in the purest ways, you’ll find your niche.
Take time today to nurture something else and you will find yourself growing along with it.