Going out has become the new staying in for me. When John was here, we were in heaven staying in. We often watched anything on tv, shared bottles of wine, enjoyed suppers for 2 or 3 or 4, chatted about nothing, commented on terribly important things we had heard on the news, and terribly important things that had happened in our day... well, usually we chatted about anything actually! But, anyway, staying in was so easy and was so much fun.
When one stays in on ones own, it's a completely different event altogether. Yes, there is still wine, nice food, tv, and, luckily for me, 2 or 3 or 4 friends here for suppers : it's all still there, and it's all still fine, but it's not the same. On a daily basis there is no feedback, no chit chat, except with oneself, but we don't always want to discuss and agree with ourselves, do we? When there is no-one with whom to interact, there isn't as much engagement. TV, for me, often becomes a background noise now, not a part of the whole. Radio 4 is my flatmate in residence. Well Radio 4 always was my flatmate, but now I really listen to him!
But this is not a litany of Poor Me. No, rather it is the stream of how I have realised, and am happy with the knowledge, that I am a sociable, interested, energetic person. Immediately following John's death, I was worried that I couldn't be alone, that I had lost my comfort in my own company, something for which I had always been very grateful. In the early days I did go out, or invite people round here, more often than I would normally do, but I needed company then, and that need, now abated, has returned me to my natural level of sociability. I have always been blessed with rich friendships, people with whom I shared interests and laughed and through whom I have learned to laugh once more.
These days, although, I have returned to enjoying my own company once more, I still ensure that I don't spend long periods alone, and I regularly and happily get out and about. I visit art galleries frequently, I now go to wonderful dance and theatre and lecture events on a regular basis, I organise movie evenings and suppers and I love having friends here to eat. Being alone again doesn't need to mean being lonely. In fact being alone again has brought with it a new confidence and a new energy. In the past I didn't have the oomph to initiate events, to "gather" people so much. I now feel comfortable with organising stuff, stuff which might, good heavens, even mean a bit of intellectual or creative debate!
It's fun, it's interesting and it reminds me that I am alive and kicking. I know it won't bring my old man back, but when I do find myself home alone now, I enjoy those times for reflection and working and painting and writing and being quiet. Perhaps one day, staying in might become my new going out... Perhaps, but not yet.. there is so much to do out there!