In a recent post titled, “The Extra Ticket: Going Out Alone” (click here to view) I touched on the subject of screwing up the courage to go places by yourself. What I failed to realize is how terrified people are, women especially, of flying solo in a mass social situation. Although it can be awkward, it can also open up a plethora of unforeseen possibilities.
Yesterday was a rough day for me. My daughter left the afternoon before for a week long beach vacation with her father’s family. A friend called and gave a last minute invitation to attend a cocktail reception and see a play so I was all set for company that first night but yesterday I felt lonely and battled falling into the pit of self pity. A responsibility free Saturday yawned before me with no set plans. It didn’t help that I was feeling old and a over tired from the previous night. My friend, Christina, is gorgeous and about eight years younger than me. She got the bulk of male attention while we were out which bruised my ego. I chatted with a few interesting single men at the party , non of whom made an effort to get my contact information or offer up any further invitation to meet. (It can be challenging to write a blog about dating in mid life when you are not getting dates.)
So I decided to go to the local farmer’s market then attend an auction of Tibetan furniture. The farmer’s market was full of couples and families shopping and enjoying delicacies offered by special food vendors. I saw only one person I knew which reminded me how solitary my life is for the most part. I went to the auction and was seated behind Beatrix Ost (pictured above), a who had been written about in one of the publications I work with (Click here to see article). She is rich, glamorous and married to a fascinating man. She was wearing a fabulous designer dress, very chic black shoes and a wide brimmed black straw hat over her artsy azure hair. She was cool, confident, collected and comfortably connected to her handsome husband and perhaps her daughter and granddaughter. I knew she had a fabulous art and artifact filled estate home somewhere nearby and what I imagine to be an equally amazingly chic flat in Manhattan. She hangs out with famous artists, directors, writers and dignitaries while traveling all over the world doing fascinating things. She has the life I ache for without the ‘save-the-planet” element on which I insist.
I got bored of the auction and convinced myself that I didn’t really want anything there then later regretted that decision. I also regretted not introducing my self to the Osts. But I was inspired. After several cranky and uncomfortable hours at home alone. I decided I needed to generate some kind of adventure. While looking up some info for a friend online I discovered just the thing: An outdoor concert featuring salsa music by Bio Ritmo, a wonderful band, at a local vineyard. But could I go to such an event alone?
This brought up the following feelings:
embarrassment: The implication that you are attending an event like a concert alone is that you are a big looser who has no one in their life to go with – not even friends much less a mate.
apprehension: A woman alone is vulnerable. There will be drunk men at this event who may act inappropriately and even worse, if they act inappropriately and they are with a woman she will get pissed at you – which could be more dangerous.
un-ease: our culture is uncomfortable with solo women – at least that is my perception after invitations to married friends dwindled following my divorce. The irony here of course is that usually went everywhere alone when I was married but changing that status bothered other people.
fear: of feeling lonely in the crowd. It can be difficult sometimes to be around intact families and happy couples – something I long for in my own life.
Then I thought about Beatrix Ost and how if I wanted a life like hers I needed to be bold. What would Beatrix do? Sit at home by herself and watch an installment of an old BBC costume drama or go for the gusto and get her butt out there and just see what happened?
Do I want to sit at home and let my life pass while I am waiting for someone who may never come?
I want to live a full life and if that means going out alone sometimes then so be it!
I packed a nice picnic of salad caprese and home made gazpacho along with silverware and a cloth napkin to make it special, put on a hot dress and some tall strappy sandals, grabbed a lawn chair and some drawing supplies and headed out. I figured I could draw if I needed entertainment until it got dark, giving me a purposeful distraction if I started to feel lonely or anxious. On the way I manifested a vision ( a trick my guru taught me) that I would either find friends or meet fun people and dance the night away regardless.
I saw someone I knew almost right away and she invited me to join her group. Though I struggled a bit with self consciousness intermittently throughout the evening, I danced and danced, got to know my friend better and met some great people. At the end of the night, my friend told me how impressed she was with me going out alone, that she would never have considered it herself and I had inspired her. That felt really good. Her comment fed my courage to go out dancing again tonight.
What do you do to find the courage to do things that scare you?