Being alone terrifies me. I have been with a romantic partner pretty much non-stop since I was 12. Even in the brief periods between partners, I have almost always had my children. I became a mom for the first time at 17, and now at 50, my youngest child is 11. I truly don’t know how to be alone. I don’t know who I am alone. Now I am facing a life on my own. Yes, I will still have the younger children, but only for another 10 years or so, and really, it won’t be even that long before they are spending most of their time off with friends. No, I am not closed to a relationship in the future, but I am realistic that it probably won’t happen at my age. So I need to figure out who I am, what I like, and what I want. I don’t have a clue where to start. Today my therapist talked about relying on my friends and I realized, I don’t have any close friends, especially not here where I live. I have wrapped myself up in being my husband’s wife and my kid’s mom, a teacher and a master’s student, and I have forgotten how to make and be a friend.
How do you even make friends at 50 when you are painfully self-conscious, socially awkward, going through a complicated divorce and trying to stay sober? It doesn’t help that my go to assumption is that people don’t like me. (Damn those mean girls from middle school for scarring me for life!) If I am looking at living on my own I am going to need support, and while my family is great, friends are what I need. I just have no idea where to look for them.
Then there is the sober thing. Although I am not practicing complete abstinence, drinking seems to be a big part of socializing with friends. I didn’t do so great with moderating my drinking the last time I was hanging out with people. I felt horrible the next day. While I don’t need or expect my friends to approach alcohol the way I do, I am worried that by looking to put myself in social situations I will be putting myself in the position to drink much more often and that will lead to regrets much more often and frankly, I’ve reached my lifetime limit for regrets.
As always, I guess I will approach this problem by reading all the books. Are there even any books on making friends? Something like “Making Friends for the Incredibly Hopeless” would be nice. Maybe I can find a blog or a podcast about socially-awkward middle-aged women learning to make friends again…If not, maybe I will start one. Who knows?