Stopping Myself – January 5, 2005

I’m comfortable by myself. I always have been. My favorite thing to do after work is come home and relax in my apartment, surfing the Net, watching DVDs, and reading books. The idea of going to a bar or restaurant after a twelve-hour day is daunting, aside from the occasional special jaunt to a concert or lecture. On weekends, I love having days by myself to lounge around, exercise, cook, shop, write, do puzzles, learn new things, and just generally putter. I’m a closet homebody.

I still love to go out — if someone suggests dancing, for example, or Dave & Buster’s, or a comedy show, or even a weekend trip, I’ll often jump at the chance to do something different. But then I’ll need to go home and unwind for a few days. Too many events strung one after the other make me feel like I have no free time — even if it’s all stuff I have chosen to do.

It just seems my natural state is alone. I’m usually single — I’ve dated several guys over the past few years, but for the majority of the time, it’s been just me. And I’ve liked it that way. I’ve proved several good things to myself — that I’m strong, that I’m independent, that I don’t need to depend on anyone else for happiness, and that I do, in fact, enjoy my own company.

But there’s a downside to all this singlehood. One is that I’ve gotten too comfortable with it. It’s my default state, and it’s easy for me, because I have plenty of friends. So I’m never afraid to go back to it — and I often do that when I should have taken a riskier road.

In fact, I’ve found a tragic flaw with every single one of the men I’ve dated out here in L.A. — he doesn’t like to read, or he makes bizarre and non sequitur-ish comments about urination during dinner, or he’s unemployed, or he’s not ambitious enough, or he talks about auras on our first date, or he wants kids in the near future. Some of these are valid reasons to stop dating someone. But others are just excuses. And I keep making them.

What I’m trying to do — and let’s just admit it — is keep control. After the debacle with my ex (see the post two down from this one), I’m afraid to let go and trust that everything will be okay. I rarely open up to people. I’ve never been dumped, and some part of me is determined to keep it that way. I’m always the one who stops calling.

But I need to get over this. I am missing out on a half of life — the half that happens when you let go of control and decide to give it to someone else, to say ‘here you go, this is me. Now let’s see what you do with it.’

You know where I should be? I should be standing out on the springboard, bouncing on the balls of my feet, about to take a swan dive into the great unknown. I belong there; I’m always happiest when I step past my fears and just do whatever it is I want, whether that means taking a new job or moving to a new place or letting a new person into my life.

I’m the only one stopping myself.

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