Monday, June 21, 2010

It's about connection! Now what?

I know I'm supposed to be writing about the Consciousness Cleanse that I'm doing and I'm two days behind but I'll get to it, maybe later today. Maybe not. But in the meantime I just had an epiphany walking home from the grocery store listening to Amazing by One EskimO. (Which is really an amazing song. Seriously.) The epiphany is this: It's about connecting to other people! That's it.

For some of you, this may not seem like an earth-shattering epiphany but for me it was and this is why. I'm really independent. Have been since I was a kid [insert sob story about divorced parents, blah, blah]. I had to do a lot of things on my own so I got used to being alone. And sometimes I actually do need to be alone in order to recharge. But really, deep down in places I don't talk about at parties (well, maybe I do), I'm a people person. I need to be around other people. Actually, it's more than that - I need to connect with other people. So it isn't enough to just go out and walk around the city surrounded by other human beings. I need to connect on a personal level.

This is related to my recent realization that I'm afraid that I'll spend the rest of my life alone. It's not that I can't live by myself or go out to dinner alone. It's not that I'm afraid of supporting myself (although if anyone wants to apply for the job of Sugar Daddy, the position is wide open). I'm just figuring out that I have a deep-seated need to share my life - my day-to-day existence - with other people.

It isn't necessarily that I need to get married again or even have a serious romantic relationship - although that would be great. But without a "partner" of some sort, it means I have to work harder to get that connection I need. That's probably one of the reasons I waited so long to get divorced. An unhealthy connection is still a connection. Having someone to come home to, even if all you want to do is avoid them, is still easier (I didn't say better) than having to do the work of finding someone else to spend time with (or ignore, I guess). I never said it was a good reason to put off getting divorced . . .

I would probably be really happy living in a commune. Assuming the other people living there didn't annoy me too much with New Age music and assuming I wouldn't get kicked out for wanting to keep my one pair of Jimmy Choo's. But if I could find the right tribe of people to live with, I'd be great.

The wonderful thing about my new career path of being a massage/Reiki therapist is that when I am working, I can't help but connect with people. Being a healer allows me to use my hands, heart, mind and spirit to work. Being a lawyer - I used my mind (and my hands if you count drafting boring documents using my hands). When I was working at a company, I was in meetings all the time. Most people hate meetings. I hated some of them - when they were pointless and boring. But mainly, I loved that part of my job and now I know why. It was the part of my job that involved connecting to other people. Helping them get stuff done. Helping them work through issues. That's what I love to do.

But right now I'm spending a lot of time alone, writing and trying to set up an online business. So how do I deal with it? Two words: Facebook and Twitter. Isn't the Internet wonderful? On Facebook, I've reconnected with all kinds of new and old friends, near and far. I connect with all kinds of people - sometimes on a deeper level than some in-person relationships - on the Internet. Just a few of my relatively new Internet friends are Gina, Miss Mandie, LaVonne, Peggie, Jesse, Kevin and Tony. These are real people who could totally call me up if they were in Chicago and I would drop everything to meet them for coffee. I might even consider donating a kidney if one of them needed it. Or maybe just offer to edit their eBooks. But I've never met them "in real life" and it doesn't matter. They're just as much friends as many of my other "real life" friends are. Which is why I spend way, way more time on Twitter and Facebook than I really should.

The really important thing this epiphany does is shine the light on the things I do when I get lonely. And I get lonely a lot these days when I don't have custody of my kids and I haven't made the effort to get together with friends. What I end up doing when I'm lonely is eating crap and messing around on the Internet. And it never seems to fill me up because "you can never get enough of the things you don't need." (I don't know who coined this phrase but it's a good one). The point is - as much as I love my tortilla chips, if I'm eating them to assuage the loneliness, I'll never stop eating them. I will never be able to get enough because they will never get rid of the loneliness. The only thing that gets rid of the loneliness is connecting. What do I do when it's late at night, none of my friends are on Twitter or Facebook and I start feeling the need for connection now that I know I shouldn't grab the chips (or start playing computer games)?

I don't know. I guess we'll see tonight. (I really, really wish I had a good answer for this - maybe someday soon I will).
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