“Are you lonely?”

I coach cheerleading for the local youth and had an interesting conversation the other day.

Coaching, outside, in South Georgia, in the summer, well it’s hot. We leave pretty gross, I won’t lie. Our first practice the outside temperature was pushing 104.

So it was another hot day at practice and one of the girls acknowledged how hot everyone was at the end of practice. A group of girls started talking about how they couldn’t wait to go home and shower. They were going on about their desired 20-minute showers and I said, jokingly, I was going to shower for three hours.

Well, some of my girls missed the sarcasm and asked how I could take a three hour shower if other people lived with me.

First of all, kudos to the parents for teaching them to be considerate of others living with them.

But then I told them, “I live alone.”

Photo by Chad Madden on Unsplash

GASP from one of my girls. She asked me if I had kids or a husband at home. When I said no, another gasp. She then asked me, so innocently, if I was lonely.

I looked stunned and then laughed a little. It was such an innocent question for a little girl but something I get asked on a regular basis.

Since my split from my now ex-husband, I get asked all time how I “do it,” which always perplexes me.

What do you mean how do I do it?

How do I live my life? How do I live alone? How do I function in society without a man beside me? How am I not a depressed human? How am I able to live my best life when something that should make me upset, isn’t?

There’s always jokes about going home for the holidays past the age of 25 and family begins asking about your career and love life, as if those two things are required after 25. It’s as if in order to be successful in life you need a thriving career and a steady relationship.

I’ve written about this before. I had a whole picture in my head of how life was supposed to be. Here’s the plan in this order:

  1. Go to college in the south
  2. Meet a nice boy
  3. Date all of college
  4. Get job as teacher after graduation
  5. Get engaged
  6. Get married
  7. Live happily ever after

So when I had a boyfriend who cheated on me in college and then had a failed marriage, I really had rethink my idea of being an adult woman. What did life look like?

All those Disney movies, fairy tales, TV shows and the antiquated ideologies I had been surrounded by needed to be acknowledged and deprogramed. I needed to restructure my thought process around happiness and what my ideal life looked like without the pressure from societal norms.

Can you be career driven and have a relationship?

Sometimes, the guys I meet don’t think so. I’ve been told I have too much ambition and that’s unattractive. I feel like Miranda Preistly sometimes.

This has actually become my life motto. If you cannot rise to meet me, we don’t belong together. Heck, that was a problem with my marriage.

So when I get asked if I’m lonely, the answer is always no. Lonely is a feeling.

We get to decide how we react and internalize our circumstances. We can choose to enjoy the period of singleness or we can wallow. We can choose to be sad or we can choose to grow as a person.

I’m more than happy living life on my terms. I’m so thankful to cook what I want for dinner. I’m thankful I can decorate my home the way I want. I love being able to watch whatever movie I want. I’m thankful if I want to work for 12 hours I can. I’m thankful I can grab dinner with my friends whenever I want. I love that when I want alone time, I can have it.

Yes, I am alone but no, I’m not lonely.

Be the Miranda, not the Akon.