Contented Loneliness

Last night, I plugged in to Helplessness Blues by the Fleet Foxes and went on a night ride on my rickety old Schwinn bike. A Wednesday evening in mid-March has never been so thoroughly enjoyed. Afterwards, I texted a friend and said, “I think I’m happy.”

A novel idea, I suppose, for a twenty-something single girl who earns no money and lives in a basement apartment in a two-bit town in northern Michigan.

But wait! Alas, I’m working a job that I absolutely adore and I have a lot of free time to do things and the basement apartment stays cool in the summer and Traverse City is, to me, the best place on earth.

But still, it’s hard to be single in your twenties.

A day at the beach, though spent with a friend, can do wonders for your feelings of insignificance.

I have friends. I spend a lot of social time making dinner or drinking tea and throwing back a few with an array of like-minded Traverse City girls. My closest friends remind me of me: they’re a little brash, fairly cynical, but romantic and whimsical as all girls are. We enjoy each others’ company because each of us knows that we can tell it like it is and laugh without fear of endless girl drama. My girl friends are indeed my sanctuary.

But, at 11pm when I’m watching online TV and wishing I had someone to talk to, most of my girls are cuddling with their significant others and ignoring their phones. On the weekend, when I want to go for a leisurely bike ride near the water and share a big bowl of ice cream from the Dairy Lodge, my girls have already packed up their romantic picnics and set off on couples’ hikes. These are gross generalizations, of course, but I’m slowly coming to realize that this social butterfly has a less-than-savory social life.

So, what happens to a romantic-yet-cynical twenty-something independent and educated girl in this depraved state? She thinks about how it could be to be in a relationship. She skips over the wreckage her past relationships left her in and yearns instead for that “missing piece”, that companion that would love nothing more than to drive to Glen Arbor on a Sunday afternoon with her.


It’s not that I NEED a man in my life. I can obviously take care of myself and have been doing so for my entire life. I’m not looking for someone to cook my meals or pay for my drinks. But, I’ve found that it’s pretty difficult to wrap my arms around myself in bed at night.

Wow, that’s depressing. Rewind.

Here’s how I see it: my love life, though entertaining, has been silly and in shambles for most of my adult life. Lots of novel or movie-worthy things have happened to me, all within a stranger-than-fiction context. I laugh, my girls laugh, everyone laughs and then we move on. The fact of the matter is, they’re moving on to some level of a comfortable and committed relationship and I move on to watching The Departed and eating pretzels.

Something’s gotta give. I’m getting bored with my crazy life.

That’s not to say that I’m looking for someone to “spice things up,” either. That cliche is just dumb. I’m perfectly content doing the things I do and being the person I am. What I’d like, rather, is a partner-in-crime of sorts. Someone (of the opposite gender) I can always count on to want to go for a walk at 2 in the morning. What I want is some company. Some male company.

I honestly don’t think that’s too much to ask.

I’m not dying, though. I’m not cruising around Traverse City looking for the one that might fit the bill. I’m not hanging out at the skeezy bars until close every night hoping someone might take me home, either.

That’s how I know I must at least be content in my loneliness. I have acknowledged what it is that I want, but I’m not going to crawl to the ends of the earth to find it. Nor am I going to settle for any Tom, Dick, or Harry along the way.

For now, I have no problem putting in my headphones and taking my bike for a solo spring spin on the TART Trail. Sometimes I can think of nothing better than cooking a meal-for-one with perfected portions. I like living in my whims and fancies, not having to worry about someone else’s preferences, opinions, or cautions.

But sometimes, I just want go-to guy that I can invite over for wine, Super Mario Brothers, and some heavy petting.

It’s really hard to make out with yourself. Like, really really hard.