One of the realities of single-parenting (particularly w/o family or an ex in the vicinity), is that time to pursue my own interests has been almost nil for nearly two decades.
However, as my boys have grown older, and the necessity of my presence in their experience diminishes, that reality has begun shifting.
Last night, I took a painting class…the first art class of any kind since I was in high school.
It didn’t even *occur* to me to invite someone to join me, b/c I was more interested in the learning than the socializing. But what I found interesting, is that out of about 50 participants, I was the only one who arrived alone. The others all dragged friends, siblings, co-workers, partners or kids along to keep them company.
Almost like they couldn’t bear to be alone with themselves.
When the people around me realized that I was participating on my own, they had questions: “Is it your birthday? Did your friend back-out? Do you want to join our group?”
“No. This is exactly what I want.”
Later, they leaned in and whispered conspiratorially: “next time, I’m going by myself, too.”
Folks, it is ok to pursue your passions without a gaggle of groupies. You don’t need to offer an explanation for your chosen solitude.
Just do it. Learn blacksmithing. Go to a concert. Take Spanish classes. Follow your curiosities wherever they lead, just because you want to, without worrying what others might think.
(You might even inspire the same in someone else.)