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Re-Orienting My (Onely) Self November 8, 2011

Posted by Onely in Food for Thought, Just Saying., single and happy.
Tags: , , ,

It’s been about six months since I started the process of moving, and I’m finally at the point when I feel like I can say, with relative confidence, that the worst is over. And in saying that, I don’t mean to suggest that I don’t anticipate challenges in the future. It’s just that now the challenges I face will be everyday challenges – rather than challenges unique to the biggest decision of my life. And for this fact, I’m grateful.

But what does this have to do with being Onely? Well, now that I’m finally unpacked (no thanks to the elves, who were MIA all this time), now that I’ve got a relatively predictable (though still hectic) work-life schedule, now that smelling salt in the air and seeing the Mediterranean on a daily basis seem somewhat normal – now I feel like I can reorient and return to my Onely self. Ever since I finished my PhD and started planning my life overseas, I’ve been in survival mode. I don’t know how to explain my mentality except that it’s like I’ve been on “high alert” – every day I wake up early, with a long “to do” list in front of me – and until I cross off each item, I don’t feel that I can truly relax.

So, although much of what I’ve had to do to “survive” this move has required a great deal of personal strength and independence – virtual trademarks of the Onely spirit – all in all, I haven’t really been able to enjoy my daily life. That’s not to say that I haven’t had enjoyable moments (I did get to visit Christina in DC before I left the U.S., after all!). But most of my focus for the last six months has been on managing my time and overseeing the logistics of this move. And overall, I wouldn’t call this focus a pleasant one.

This past weekend was a long weekend here in Beirut (Eid Mubarak, ya’ll!), and for the first time in a very long time, I took time out for myself: I slept in past 8am (for three days in a row!). I haven’t gone running; I skipped out on yoga; friends enjoyed two big dinners on my back patio; and I’ve begun to feel more like a normal human being.

It’s strange feeling normal again, but I think I’ll get used to it. Right now I’m at the stage where I’m slowing down from the constant state of maniacal energy I’ve been in for the last six months, and it feels a little unsettling. But as I readjust, I am slowly remembering my Onely self – that is, the self who explores the world with an open and curious mind. The self who refuses to work all hours of the day and night (which is entirely possible in academia) so she can enjoy her friends and neighbors. The self who sometimes travels alone. The self who enjoys being at home. The self who relishes the great outdoors (why haven’t I joined the hiking club yet?). The self who looks around and wonders out loud, how am I this lucky?

Fellow Onelers, have you had experiences where you’ve “forgotten” what it’s like to be Onely due to major life events or other distractions? How have you reoriented your Onely selves?

– Lisa

photo credit: loridelozier


1. Alan - November 8, 2011

I’ve found reorientation comes when the changes settle down and one can start to focus on setting up new routines.

I moved a little over a month ago, not that far just one suburb to another, but it took up a great deal of my time and thought. And it caused a fair amount of stress too. And in order to manage that I had to put a career search on hold, even though I was unhappy with my job.

Now I’m settling into the new place and the new neighborhood, finding new routines (i.e. where to get groceries, find an ATM, etc). So now I can start the job search, which will require another orientation once I’ve found and started a new job. The move was an improvement, I’m hoping the job will be too.

Onely - November 10, 2011

Excellent, Alan. Cheers to re-settling and finding great job/life opportunities!


2. singlutionary - November 12, 2011

Lisa, this is fantastic and timely post. I really appreciate it. My source of non-enjoyable-onely-ness lately has been all the obligatory travels I have participated in over the past year. All of them were self imposed but few of them were enjoyable or relaxing and when I came home I was always “catching up” until the next one.

Change is hard, even when change is constant. My work life has also been in a constant state of change for the past 2 years. Well, forget that!!! It is time to have one good job, 2 good classes and a lot of fantastic routine.

I can’t imagine what my life would be like if I also had a partner’s obligations to attend to. First I need to get my own obligations under control!

But I am very excited to learn about your new Onely life in Beirut!

Onely - November 13, 2011

Hi Singlutionary — totally understand the problems associated with “catchup” after change… I deliberately avoided traveling anywhere during my first holiday here because I knew I would totally regret the catchup effect! At any rate, good luck with getting into a steady routine in your own life — I am crossing my fingers that you find exactly what you want!

— Lisa

3. Lisa Saddler - November 22, 2011

I have recently moved back from California to Scotland so I can sympathize with the struggles of re-locating.

It took me almost a year to logistically figure out how I make it happen and It was possibibly one of the most stressful events of my life so far, having to leave my boyfriend of 3 years, my best friends and the many wonderful friendships and of course, my carreer, which I had built up during the 10 years I lived there. I was embarking on a huge life change and I was terrified! Sadly, there were lots of tears and tantrums on the way.

2 months on I’m finally starting to see small parts of my life coming back together. Hooray!!!!!!!

I have however managed to avoid most of my British friends when I got back because I didn’t have the energy for the “catch up” chat. I just couldn’t muster up the smile. But, I’m starting to come out from under my shell now that my confidence is finally returning.

One thought that has kept me going day by day is the fact that everyday begins with and ends with me. I’m the one that can make or break my day. I’ve realized that it doesn’t matter geographically where I live. I create the happiness in my life. Being a “onely” allows me to be whomever I want to be on any particular day; A sofa slug or a gym bunny or maybe a culinary master in the kitchen. The possibilites are endless 🙂


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