Your Tragedy Is Coming
I spent New Year’s Eve at home, alone.
My son went to sleep after watching the 9pm ABC live stream of the Sydney fireworks.
I sat in my armchair, feet perched on the ottoman, iPad in my lap, fanfare rolling in the background, until just after midnight.
I spent the night writing my rules for the year. Setting my intentions. Making a list of my ins and outs. Mapping out some habits to conquer.
I don’t really do goals. I have ideas and I chase them, wholeheartedly, but I cannot give you my plan for the next year, or five. I don’t have one.
It was the first New Year’s Eve that I’d been alone in…maybe forever? I wracked my brain to prove myself otherwise, but I came up short. I couldn’t think, in my thirty-eight years on this earth, of a New Year’s Eve I wasn’t surrounded by love, or friends, or family. Or all at once.
When I realised it, a lump formed in my throat.
Not because I particularly felt like doing something other than writing a list of ins, outs and intentions, but because it would have been nice to have been asked to something. Anything.
Feeling your feelings and focusing on healing is incredibly important. So is being distracted from it all, from time to time.
Anyone who has been through a break-up will tell you that the idea of being alone can be one of the most confronting. I’m convinced it’s also one of the reasons many people end up staying together – the idea of being alone is simply too much for some to bear. I think it’s one of the most freeing, and exciting, components of a split but nonetheless, switching from couple to single is an adjustment.
As I sat in my armchair, lump swelling in the base of my throat, I thought about all the people I know.
I know a lot of people.
I’m not saying that to flex, it’s simply the reality of a couple of decades working in the kind of field I do, combined with all the other things I do, and have ever done. After a certain amount of time, you start to tally up a lot of people. There’s school, and university, work, and hobbies, family, and friends, acquaintances, and friends of neighbours of colleagues of friends of school mums.
I don’t think we need so many people in life. I think, if we’re honest with ourselves, most of us could count on one hand, maybe two, if we’re really lucky, the people we’d honour with the true definition of friendship.
As the glow from the iPad lit up my living room, as I spun the Apple pencil in and around my fingers, as I listed what I would no longer tolerate in 2023, as the lump swelling in the base of my throat led to a little tear slipping out of my left eye, I confronted the reality I didn’t want to accept.