Sigh, Sometimes life just sucks

I just retired, and was suddenly cut off from my faculty friends, and I’d gotten a lot of my camaraderie from my students. I’d gone out for drinks with a group at least once a week (college students, most “of age”).

I fully expected to be depressed by now…

But I’m floored by how much I’m enjoying solitude. I talked to maybe three people today. I listened to an audiobook as I puttered around the house, biked to Trader Joe’s for the ingredients for a new recipe (then made it), and spent too much time on the Dope. Finished my 'book while sitting on the porch. Took a long walk tonight and started a new audiobook.

When I figure it out, I’ll be sure to broadcast it, free of charge.

This.

Some people call it a cooperative game, because after a long warmup period the game forces one of the players to turn into a monster, and at that point (and not before!) the remaining players team up and cooperate in an effort to take them out, while the monster player works to defeat them all and win.

Needless to say, if your goal is to play with your friends rather than against your friends, this is not your game.

For a first-time cooperative game I’d recommend Pandemic if you’re a eurogamer, Ghostbusters if you like playing something less abstract and more combative, Forbidden Island if you want something quick and simple, and Eldritch Horror if you want to cover a large table and spend multiple hours playing it. (Arkham Horror is a similar concept to Eldritch Horror, sort of a predecessor, that has more cards and stuff to manage and (in my opinion) isn’t as fun, and I’ve never played Mysterium.)

All of these games can be played with only two people, and with the possible exception of Eldritch Horror can probably be handled by the average nine year old - though it may take them a while to figure out how to cooperate properly.

I build things. I always do my best carpentry work angry.

You know, I don’t know. I’m sorry you’re going through with it though.

I come from a dysfunctional family. I decided never to have kids for a wide range of reasons (health issues, I never felt ready, etc).

So I treated my nieces as my own kids. But then there was a family argument that I had nothing to do with, but because I’m the family scapegoat my brother and his wife blamed it on me, and turned the girls against me to punish/control me to force me to say everything was my fault.

So I spent 12 years helping to raise a pair of kids only to be discarded when I wasn’t useful anymore. Fucking sucks. I hate people.

Wesley, that’s not funny, but I say Hah! My brother tried something similar and it backfired when I owned it in front of God and Everyone and told him it was so that his kids would have at least some ability to be independant as adults…a year later him and his wife were divorced and he apologized. No I didn’t do what I was accused of.

Hah!

It never ceases to amaze me what family members can/will do to each other.

Drink.

Just do what I do: Any time a feeling comes up that you don’t like you just push it down into the box. Everytime. Just keep pressing those bad feelings down and soon you’ll be happy. Like me. Oh, so very happy!

Or, you can find something to do. As much as it pains me to say this, exercise. Find something you can tolerate, ideally something that you can do with other people. Try out Tai Chi, or something you’ve never done before. This has the added benefit of reducing stress and keeping you healthier, because being sick and lonely is way worse than just garden variety lonely. Also, drink.

I was where you are a few years ago. I met someone promising and we live together. But now my situation is very much like the line from the Gotye song:

“Told myself that you were right for me
But felt so lonely in your company”

I am at a point right now that I prefer the times I am alone to having to deal with getting yelled at for all of someone else’s problems.

So having someone else around is not always the answer. But when I was alone I did tend to find more excuses to get out of the house. Even if I never talked to anybody, just being around other humans helped.

Not trying to deny or minimize your feelings here, it’s perfectly legit to feel depressed because you’re not with someone right now. But don’t forget to ask yourself how much of the heaviness is based on feeling that you ought to be with someone, or that because you used to be with someone then by definition it must be bad not to be with someone.

What if you lived in a society where everybody was expected to be alone for at least x years of their adult life? In this hypothetical society you can have relationships/marriage part of the time if you want, but it’s culturally mandated that you should spend at least this minimum amount of time on your own to become fully independent as a person. What would life be like if people routinely described their single status not with statements like “I’m alone and unloved and a failure” but instead with statements like “I’m doing some of my solo work these days”?

In short, how much of our unhappiness at being alone is produced by cultural expectations of experiencing aloneness as stigma and deprivation and failure, rather than genuine inability to find happiness in solitude?

Again, I’m not saying you have to be happy in solitude if that’s not how you feel. Just reminding you that you’re allowed to be happy in solitude even if the rest of the world is telling you that solitude will necessarily make you miserable. (Also, and importantly, being happy in solitude for now will not automatically classify you as some antisocial coldhearted freak who will never find love again.)

One copes, that’s how. You’re feeling an emptiness in yourself that you’ve forced other people to fill, but it’s your emptiness, and it is your job to fill it. You can dump alcohol and tears into the emptiness (god knows I tried that), or hookers, or bowling, or pets, or family, or food…but anything that doesn’t come from you won’t last. And because what you’re depending on is external to you, you are a slave to its availability. You need to become enough for you.

How you get there? I dunno. I’m not you. None of us are. What worked for me? One fine day, while I was freshly divorced and feeling rather down, driven to live only by my duty to be some sort of father to my kids, I found myself at the library. I was picking out some movies to watch with the kids, and I started browsing the music section. I came across an album by a band I’d heard of but never listened to because I didn’t take them seriously. What the hell, let’s see what all the fuss had been about (they’d been out of business for nearly 30 years). It was a refreshing break from my stale playlist but nothing really grabbed me until this number came on. And grab me it did. It prompted quite a bit of introspection that yielded one simple, anchoring truth: the life I am living is mine, and it is nobody’s privilege, right, or job to live it for me; and when I wasn’t having the time of my life, I needed only to look in the mirror to find the person responsible. Nobody had ever hurt me, they were just being them and I took their actions personally, I had been unfair in expecting others to make my happiness more of a priority than I did. So, yeah that’s it man. Figure out who and what you are, wear it like a badge, be the hell out of you, and most importantly make yourself allow others to do the same. You won’t be lonely.

Exercise, getting good sleep, drink in moderation (and don’t leave hard liquor in the house) take care of your hygine and surroundings to avoid hitting a downward spiral that can be quite the trap to get out of.

I mourned, I grieved, I found some new interests.

And when I was ready I did the second hardest thing in my life (watching him die was the hardest) - I pulled my big girl panties up tight & went out to find a new mate.

Been thinking about this, off and on.

I know what the problem is, and right now it doesn’t seem very likely that I’m going to easily get to the solution I want/need. Just keep plugging away at I guess until it happens.

Oh. Oh? OH! I see what the problem is, now. Unfortunately I cannot advise you in that area. Aren’t there places men can go for that?
Good luck.

Well, there’s an assumption I didn’t make.

I confess curiosity as to what he specifically had pegged down as his chosen solution, but as a sadly lonely person myself, my first guess wouldn’t have been rub’n’tug.

Thank you. Knowing other people think this is dysfunctional does help because I was born into dysfunction and sometimes can’t see it.

Lol begbert and Beck

Uh, yeeeaaahh, if you’re thinking what I’m thinking Beck, and after we take over the world, it will be so much better. BTW were you able to get the amount of steel wool I asked for?
rub n tug,huh, hadn’t thought of that. hmmmmmmmmm, nah, nowhere around here I’d want to go even if I knew where.