7.6b people on planet earth and I could not have one of them just hold me

I had been lonesome for years, but all the noise and chaos of having to work through a breaking marriage never afforded me the time to feel the loneliness. Now here I was, being my own person, I could be who I wanted to be, do what I wanted to do, and yet all I wanted was a human connection and it wasn’t there.

It’s mirthful, the irony of life!

Sitting down in Hosier Ln, I feel less lonely surrounded by this strange art and folk, than I did sitting at home with the man I made my babies with.

As I look at my hands, starting to look tired of always doing, I wonder when it was the last time that someone held them warmly.

The coffee next to me gets cold, but it never really does warm me up, it always stays, the chill in my soul!

The mirror is so harsh, and smiling is so hard! Invisalign would fix my teeth, but who do I go to for a fix of love?

I must see see the humour in this way of life too, for it is not what has been, but the promise of what I have yet to see that holds my heart!

2 months into the separation a girlfriend asked how I felt about being single again, and I couldn’t answer that. I did not feel like a single woman, I felt bound to my past, I was still living the life of a married woman, albeit without the husband, and had not made the leap. I hadn’t even sought out a date. What was wrong with me? I spent years wishing to be free again and when I finally had that chance, why was I still stuck in my past?

So, I ran and walked, and binge watched Netflix at nights. I talked my girlfriends’ ears off.

Then I was spent, I was done talking about it, and it was time to let go of what had been and find what could be. Being married was all I knew, but it was not all I needed to know. I could choose my next mountain; I could pace my climb!

What I couldn’t do was to sit on my couch all day and expect one of the 7.6b people to knock on my door and sweep me off my feet.

I had been on these dating sites for months, but never really tried to meet someone, just kept making excuses or as my friend says, I was being too critical of what the men I matched with lacked before even meeting them.

I am a 40 year woman, mother of two, a Melbournian, the earliest millennial so whilst I am a technology native, dating has changed much since I was single about 15 years ago. And there’s this little thing called COVID-19 so it’s not like I can go bar-hopping and find a charming man, so online dating it was for me! I really got into it towards the end of July, when the winter nights are so long and cold. To put it mildly, it has been a great learning experience.

There are so many sites, so many acronyms and several underlying dating etiquette. I chatted with so many blokes, it became like a second job! I would put the kids in bed, and spend hours swiping left, an occasional right. Had so many almost coffees before chickening out the morning of.

So, for the first couple of months I just got educated on the tinder speak – demi-sexual Vs sapio-sexual. 420 friendly apparently means they will do weed! Most of them never look like their profile photos and some of them are real creeps!

It has been an amusing lesson in the millennial dating scene, but no dice on finding someone I can go meet.

2020, the year we lost time, I found myself

Running is great! I shed 15 kilos and a husband!

I walked/ran 3.3 million steps last year. First, I ran to get away from my pain, then I ran to feel the pain, then I ran to get a hit of that endorphin release!

Running is like a state of trance, one can move with their thoughts, and become one with that fluid motion. It helps us see clearly through the haze of lethargy.

All that running freed my soul from the confinement of a sorrowful life with a man who didn’t want me, a life I didn’t need and made me a better person for it!

We separated just one week shy of COVID restrictions being implemented. So here I was, always fighting to get my me time and now I had it. All that time in Iso when the kids were at their dad’s. At first the silence was a relief. I could hear the birds chirping as I sat down for that uninterrupted cuppa. I wept, for days! It can be a shock to the system when you are used to a chaotic life of moving from one action to another.

The stillness outside amplified the noise in my mind, and it was not pleasant. It was hard to realise that to continue to put a band-aid on our failing marriage, I had ignored my soul. I hadn’t stopped to enjoy my plants, hear the birds chirp, watch my kids watch the great snails’ migration from one end of the street to the other.

I spent the first 3 months of my new life as a single woman, mother of two focussing on learning basics of life. I had never bought groceries; it has been entertaining to watch myself fumble and learn how to get the right groceries. The first time I did an online order, I did not update quantities of loose fruit and vegetables, and ended up with one mushroom, one red onion and a banana! No Michelin star chef could make something out that now!

Introduced myself to a spanner, got a funky screwdriver. If I sound like a barbie doll, I am not, I can handle a motorcycle just fine and am very handy in a garden. I just never needed these skills before. I did my first ikea assembly – a wobbly study desk for my son. It still works, so not all bad eh!

At first, I focussed on things I needed to do to continue a semblance of the life as I knew it. Bought way too many groceries, cooked too much! Ate too much, we could blame COVID induced Iso for that, but I think it was just me. Put on 4 kilos, just eating all the great stuff I cooked and baked. Loneliness slowly crept in, the days when the kids weren’t with me were the hardest, sometimes I felt like I was the only person in this world. The need for someone to just hold me got so unbearable sometimes that I would go for late night runs. I have run at midnight once. I should caution you, in the middle of Melbourne winter, when the wind’s howling and the streets are wet, no sane person walks these streets, it is not ideal to go for a run