It is April 9, 2018. I am still a single mom of four kids. This is not where I thought I would be at 47 (my birthday is in 12 days).
I had hoped that by the time I reached 50, I would be settled down somewhere, paying off a mortgage, mid-career, planning for retirement and vacations. My kids would all be off on their own developing lives for themselves. I would be happily basking in the sun with a husband. None of that will happen.
So the last 20 months of adjusting to a life without my children’s father being present and my new role as single person/parent has been for a lack of a better word; depressing.
My first attempts at meeting someone online ended badly and my own children voiced their concerns to my therapist. That was such an uncomfortable conversation with her. Having to explain my actions like I committed or was about to commit a crime. Everyone forgot that I was a grown woman who made a mistake who now and forever will always be watched and scrutinized.
So I started keeping most of my chats with people online to myself. Even though, I so want to share these “new” people in my life with others but knowing I can’t. When I do talk about any of them, the immediate eye rolls, look of boredom, and smirks make me feel so alone. I know they’re all just kids. My kids but I feel like I’m being judged for trying to be happy. Yet, it shouldn’t matter to me what they think because it is the rest of my life and not theirs being affected. I let what others think of me, matter and get inside my thoughts were it continues to battle with the depression and anxiety. It is an endless and vicious cycle.
The other issue is the age of the people I talk to. A few claimed to be a few years older than me and I was happy to have a grown up to talk to. Then the chats ended because they were just trying to run a scam. The others I talk to and video chat with are all younger. I was uncomfortable at first but then everyone kept telling me; age is just a number. So I thought about being brave and just go with it. I know none of it would be serious anyway. They are all still discovering who they are. They are still growing up.
Then one day, I had a message that someone wanted to chat with me. I looked at the profile to try to determine if the person was truly who they said they were. It was a legitimate profile so I started chatting with him. He seemed like a nice person. Very sure of himself and lots of questions. Very young and still trying to finish school. He never asked for anything except for my time. Complementary and smart. A friendship started developing. I was refraining from getting too involved. Mainly because of the huge age difference. We’ve been talking back and forth for several months now. Daily for the last two months and an occasional video chat. An odd relationship (in my opinion) started forming. Yet, I still keep being told, age doesn’t matter.
I was thinking about that this past week. When you are becoming involved in a relationship or friendship your mind and heart have different ways of seeing it. The logical mind takes into account such things as age, experience, family dynamics, and the differences that can be seen. The heart rules the emotional or feeling side of everything. It makes you happy, sad, insecure, and unsure of yourself. To a person with depression, both sides fight against each other on a daily basis making attachments to others difficult for both self and the other person. So which do you follow? That is an age-old question that has no easy answer.
So I decided to just keep going with the progression of this friendship. He has made these plans for himself that includes me as well. The nurturing side automatically wants to help and be supportive. So we discuss his plans and he started putting them into action. Everything is slow-moving through the process which gives us time to learn more about each other. It seemed fine until today.
We started talking about movies a while back and he made some recommendations which I watched. I liked some but not all. Today he was making some more suggestions but unfortunately all but two I had already seen. This did not seem to sit well with him because I had seen so many. He made more suggestions and I started making my own toward him. He replied that “I think I can’t match you in movies…there are other aspects I think am better than you.” I jokingly said that “…age makes a difference sometimes…” There it was. The one thing that always messes up every relationship and friendship I’ve ever had. The thought that I’m trying to compete with the other person or vice versa. I thought it was just normal chatting with each other but he said he would talk to me later and abruptly ended the conversation.
Since I was little kid still playing on the playground it has been this way for me. Whether it was sports, academics, or even board games if I was doing well someone always had to knock me down a few pegs or they got mad at me. It normally ended up me being bullied and losing what little friends I had. It was a lonely existence throughout my childhood until I was 18 with no real friends.
I left home, joined the military and was now thrust into young adult life. The treating me differently didn’t stop and just intensified. I was now dealing with other adults who I actually had to compete with for promotions, special duty pay, and duty assignments. I admit that I love competition if that is what I am involved with but not as a daily part of my life. Yet, despite that, every relationship or friendship turned into some form of competition and got so bad some men and women got in my face verbally threatening to fight me. It was such a lonely time in my life not feeling like I could trust anybody. Even the people who said they were my “best friends” turned away from me if things got too heated.
As I got older these same attitudes tended to show up in workplaces and the rest of my military career. It was a part of the relationship with my parents and sisters. It even spilled over into my own marriage to the point I just gave up trying on some things to just to keep the peace. I was tired of fighting this invisible fight that served no purpose because no matter what, I would never win it.
So now, I don’t know what to do. The mind and heart are struggling with each other. I will not go back to the way I was before, backing down even if I did nothing wrong. Constantly apologizing and saying I’m sorry just to make peace with the other person. I’m tired of being made to feel like I’m only important when the other person deems so. No one should have to explain themselves over and over again. They should be accepted at face value. That’s all I’ve ever wanted.
To be loved for just being me. No strings attached. No changes to be made. Accepting me with all my flaws good and bad. Things in the world would probably be so much better if we all treated each other that way.
Thank you for stopping by.
Have a great week!
May good vibes, peace, love, and happiness always find you!