I have never really been alone. From the day I was biologically formed, I had company – my lovely twin sister. And for 20 odd years, I have 3 siblings to keep me on my toes. Even when I move from continent to continent, I have never had a lack of friends, i.e. people I genuinely like to hang out with, a result of both my luck and my wonderful personality maybe *wink*.
But this year, something different happened. Out of the blue in the shower one nice November day, I actually pondered if it’s healthier to be with someone even if he/she is not totally compatible with you or just be single. Living in Chicago did not turn out to be as easy as I thought it would be and moving here was probably one of the toughest things I ever did. I was a “freshman” in the breast cancer survivor college, moving to a new city, new country, taking up a new job, adjusting to a new tax and healthcare system and most of all a harsher weather pattern. I am a sunshine girl and I need my regular dose of sunshine to keep my bubbly self up. Chicago’s winter is a long 4 to 5 months and plus I always ended up working in windowless offices at my client’s for the past year. (Side note: I really think everyone regardless of hierarchical levels within a company should be entitled to windows). Anyways, I suddenly found myself struggling to be happy. It was a little unusual but I am not surprised because every since cancer paid a visit, life has never been the same.
Then one fine February day, I found myself getting onto the bandwagon of online dating. I have met a wide array of people from there – pilots, company vice presidents, chefs, fellow consultants, architects, professors etc. Very successful people (in terms of career) but none has actually made me feel less alone than I already was. And we were all guilty of playing the disappearance game. It got me thinking what extreme loneliness would be like. Have you watched Will Smith's "I am Legend" or Tom Hank's "Castaway"?
For me the answer is quite clear. I am quite an emotionally filled person and I tend to put my whole heart into every thing I do, including my job. For good or for bad, this is who I am. So being with someone who is either not compatible or not emotionally available is a daily torture. It is mentally and emotionally unhealthy for me. I don’t lose my sleep or appetite over it (thank god) but I lose my smile, which is quite undesirable for people around me.
So this holiday season, think about what you have and not what you are missing because fully enjoying what you already have and appreciating them is definitely healthier than dwelling on your misses and shortfalls. You are only as alone as you want to be. At least that’s what my journey through cancer has taught me.
I have put this question up for poll. Tell me what your position is. :)