Lately, I’ve been feeling . . . well, I dunno. Out of sorts? At a loss? I’ve been trying to put my finger on it. Trying to just feel the feelings and do some investigation. What the hell is this? Depression? No. Anxiety? No. I hate to admit it, but what I think I’m feeling is, uh, loneliness.
This feeling of loneliness is rather new to me. I’ve always enjoyed being alone. In fact, I often crave being alone. Being alone is my natural state. It’s being with people that has always been hard.
But yet . . .
I don’t know what has changed. I mean, why all of a sudden am I feeling lonely? I don’t get it.
The other night really made me realize that I need more of a social life, but one that is age appropriate. After work a bunch of us went out to dinner, which I had never done with them before. It was a pleasant outing. But, as the evening was still quite young when we adjourned a couple of my colleagues suggested I join them at a gay bar in the Castro. Since I had nowhere better to go and I feel really comfortable among the gay community I agreed.
Being a Friday night, the club was quite crowded with mostly cute, young gay men. The music was blaring and I could barely hear a word that my colleagues and their friends were saying. Mostly I smiled and bounced my head to the beat. One of my colleagues was getting quite drunk, and the other was greeting every other man who walked by as if he were the greeter at Wal-Mart. After about an hour or so, the other woman in our group had to pee and was informed that there was no women’s bathroom, so we all left. My friends went off to a different club which actually had a women’s bathroom and I opted to head home. It was only 10:30.
The next night, the boyfriend came over, as usual. As my neighbor’s daughter was having her in Quinceañera party in the street, I felt it was best to just stay in for the evening. I didn’t want to risk having to run over a bunch of 15 year olds by leaving for and then returning from dinner. We grilled up some dinner and hung out for a while outside. By 8pm, the boyfriend decided to go to bed leaving me angry and wondering what was the damn point of him coming over.
So, in this one weekend it became clear that I was no longer 25 with a high tolerance of noise and drunkenness, yet neither am I ready for the early bird special and bed before 9. There has to be a happy medium when it comes to a social life.
Finding and maintaining friends as an adult is challenging. Unlike when you’re younger and your friends have nothing better to do than “hang out”, adults have careers, families, and tend to be more entrenched in their habits and interests. Also, I think more mature adults have a little more wisdom as to how they want to spend their time. So, if a night out hearing an Indian-Sufi funk band holds no appeal to someone, then they’re less likely to come along just for the hell of it or because there is nothing better to do.
I’m not complaining about my friends. I have great friends. And I have more friends now than I have had in the last 20 years or so. I guess it would be nice to see them more often. But, it’s challenging. You would not believe the number of phone calls and texts and emails that it took to simply coordinate just three of us to go out and hear some music. Somehow as I get older simple social acts just seem to take so much more effort.
But, I know it can be done. Granted, it is a lot easier when there is some kind of structure that supports it, whether it is a shared workplace, gym, class, club or spiritual organization, or maybe a deeply entrenched habit or ritual like a regular Girl’s Night Out. At least that’s my theory. I also think that introverts like myself tend to be drawn to other introverts, and as you can imagine, that also can make socializing somewhat challenging.
I’ll figure out. It’s just a touch of loneliness. It ain’t gonna kill me. But, I’ll listen to it, pay attention and make adjustments as needed.
And come on, isn’t there anyone out there who wants to go catch this cool Indian-Sufi funk band tonight?