One of the greatest challenges of being newly single is how to spend all that time that just appeared out of nowhere. Seriously, where did all this time go when I was in a relationship? Is there some kind of time warp that sucks it all up? If anyone knows, I'm very curious. I'll post the best explanation of this phenomenon later this week.
In taking advantage of this massive volume of free time, I've ratcheted up my activity levels: I've read 3 books this week, ran 10 miles worth of quick runs plus a long run of close to 6 miles yesterday, completed an amazing short day hike of about 8 miles on Saturday (more on that later in the post), and cleaned my house top to bottom, twice. I've never been more busy doing stuff I like doing, yes, even the cleaning!, than before.
However, somewhere around the edges of these activities lurks a beast. It's a fearsome, loathsome creature and the bane of all people across the globe: loneliness. Am I keeping busy to keep from being lonely? Or am I simply doing that which I love for the intrinsic value of it? Does it really matter? I enjoy it. But, there is that loneliness that sneaks up and punches me in the face with bitter tears from time to time. 'Tis but a stepping stone on the path of my new life, I remind myself; but it still sucks.
In those moments of utter and complete loneliness, I try to remember that (1) I'm really not alone. I have two handfuls of really good and close friends I talk to on a regular basis. Plus, I have lots of folks to chat with and keep tabs on via Facebook (I adore Facebook!). (2) I'm an amazing person with incredible interests and hobbies and now is the best time to indulge in them. (3) Happiness is a choice.
Of all the things I try to remember, number three is the hardest to live by and keep at the forefront of my thoughts. It's human nature to indulge in self-pity rather than seek and focus on joy, but I'm working on it. I really am.
While increasing my focus on the good and my personal interests, I took myself out on a hike to Mount Pisgah on the tower trail Saturday morning. Bauer, my rent-a-pup, came with me. He was a happy dog. He wriggled and romped and got muddy feet and didn't care. He was loving life and exuded it snout to tail. He didn't have to keep chanting the mantra of I choose to live in the moment and be happy. He just did it. What an amazing way to live.
The sunlight through the trees cast beautiful shadows on the forest floor. I sought photo opportunities as a way to train myself to see the gems strewn throughout life. Dorothea Lange said, "[a] camera is an instrument that teaches people how to see without a camera." I'm working on it. I'm getting there. I'm making progress. It'd be helpful if I had a digital SLR, though, instead of my little sidearm point-and-shoot. But, it's on the list of things to acquire. I'll get one. And I'll take the most amazing photos, too. My eye is becoming keener on the joys of life.
(I'll update the post later to include photos. At school without access to my images.)