Ringing in 2019 Alone
For 54 years I have never welcomed in a new year alone. Growing up in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn, being alone was an impossibility. Whether your family rang it in with Guy Lombardo or Dick Clark, just seconds after the clock struck midnight just about every neighbor from every house on the block was simultaneously banging pots and pans together from kitchen windows or their front porch screaming “HAPPY NEW YEAR” to one another. And, your family always sang Auld Lang Syne as the bittersweet memories of those who were no longer with them brought a tear to their eyes . As I got older, friends and boyfriends were thrown into the mix as were celebrations at other people’s homes or parties. When I married, our home became New Year’s Eve central for many years. We rang it in with friends and their kids and continued the tradition of banging those pots and pans, mixed in with confetti and fireworks. When my marriage ended and I entered a new relationship we rang in the new year in Atlantic City. Every new year brought the promise of a new beginning, a step closer to a momentous event, the pain of someone’s death, the joy of someone’s birth, and a whole new book of memories to be made. Never a new year ushered in alone.
So, when I told people I was ringing in 2019 at home, by myself, the responses ran the gamut of sympathetic, sad, concerned and confused. “Why are you spending it alone?” “WHAT? No, you are not going to be alone for the new year!” “Don’t do that! Spend it with us.” “What’s wrong? Is everything okay?” “I don’t want you to be alone.” I had many invites; every one of them from people I love and cherish. Every one I would have been blessed to ring the new year in with kisses, hugs, and well wishes. When I say I am a blessed woman, no truer words could be spoken. But, 2018 was such a mixed bag of lessons, blessings and moments that I simply needed to spend it quietly and, as cliche as it sounds, reflecting back on how much my life changed in 12 short months, and quietly offering up a toast to my biggest achievement.
That achievement? Finally being at peace with who I am.
Two years ago I made a commitment to living in the YES. I told myself I was going to say yes to all invites, all opportunities and all possibilities that came my way. The only thing I quietly told myself I wasn’t going to say yes to was a relationship. I promised myself that no matter what irresistible man entered my life, I was going to avoid a serious relationship because from the age of 15 to the age of 51 I have always been in a relationship, and they were always long term. I kept that promise and entered the world of dating.
Actually, I threw myself into the dating pool and quickly wished I had saved my daughter’s floaties.
I met some great guys, some nice guys, and guys who permeated with Ick. I went to dinner, went out for drinks, went to movies, went to parties and started to fall for one or two. One I even dubbed My Kryptonite. But, in the end, as I traveled through my year of dating I realized that what I personally was looking for wasn’t to be found, and I found myself feeling something that completely took me by surprise.
I got bored. Bored of waiting two or three weeks to pop up in someone’s mind and get a call; bored with the obsession many had with red rooms and 50 Shades of Grey; bored with being asked for naked pix; bored with sext messages, which seems to be the new foreplay; bored with being asked what “toys” I owned; bored with their belief they possessed the magic answer (or appendage) to a mind blowing orgasm; bored with promises to get together that never transpired; bored with what it seemed were the same lines, jokes, and requests out of a book they were all reading.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m human. I enjoy sex. And, what I choose to do behind closed doors and how many ways I choose to do it is between me and my partner. But, what I missed was a real connection. I missed talking instead of texting. I missed someone calling more than once a week. I missed laughing and joking over drinks with someone who enjoyed my company, and whose company I enjoyed. Did I want a ring? No. But, I wanted to be more than an afterthought. I wanted someone to like me; I wanted someone to flirt with me; I wanted one on one, eye to eye foreplay. I wanted something that would take a little time to build. And, I learned that there is something far worse than asking a man for a commitment: asking for some of his time.
I wanted someone’s time. Not all of it, but enough to make me feel like I was someone they liked and thought about. Someone they cared enough about to call and say “Hey. How was your day?” or “How is your mom doing?” or “What’s going on with the house and the non-profit” or “Hey. Whatcha doing? Let’s grab a bite.” More than a lover, or boyfriend…I wanted a someone special I could talk to and see more than once a month. Someone who made time to come by for dinner, curl up on the couch to relax and watch TV together.
It seems like too much to ask nowadays. I had a man contact me on one of the dating sites. He told me I was in the top 20% of attractive women on that site. He also said it was a shame because men my age wanted women in their 30’s and 40’s, men in their 60’s weren’t looking for something serious, and men who were in their 30’s and 40’s who did contact me just wanted cougars. I thought he was being rude because I declined his request to go out with him.
Turns out he was probably the most honest man who contacted me.
I spent a year quietly asking why it was so hard to just be happy. “I just want to meet a nice man and be happy.” “Why can’t I just be happy?” “Why can’t I make someone happy?” As I asked myself these questions over and over, Kryptonite called. He wanted to meet for drinks before the holiday. I was so happy, so excited. I called him a few days later. No answer. I text him a few days later. No answer. It wasn’t a surprise. This was how it always was. A date and great night. A text the next day. Nothing for 3-5 weeks. Then a call. Great conversation. A date and great night. A text the next day. Nothing. But, this time it was different. This time I realized that as much as I enjoyed our time together, as much as I really liked him and the little bit of time he managed to carve out for me every few weeks, it wasn’t what I wanted. So I ended it altogether. I didn’t want to be an afterthought. I didn’t want to be the call on the ride home after 3 or 4 weeks of no contact. I didn’t want a ring; I simply wanted a little more time.
I jumped off of all dating sites, erased and blocked numbers, sat down and waited. I prepared myself for the feeling of loneliness I was sure was coming. It never did. I didn’t feel lonely or alone.
I was happy.
So, I chose to ring in the new year in my home, in my pajamas, with a glass of kick ass sangria making a new list for 2019. No where on the list does it say I will or won’t say yes to dating and that’s how it should be. In 2018 I got everything I wanted: I wanted to be happy and I am; I wanted to show my gratitude to the people in my life who love and support me, and I did; I wanted to live in the moment to appreciate and be proud of what I accomplished in 2018, and I continue to do so into 2019; I wanted to laugh, throw parties and make memories and I accomplished that many times over.
I chose me first and made my beautiful, happy life. Do I hope one day someone special will share it with me? Of course! But, if he finds me he will be a wonderful addition to the happiness I already possess. Cheers to making dreams come true <3