Tag Archives: friendships

Orbiting Onlies

What happens when two onlies date? Studies show that it’s not a good idea. How could two ‘onlies’ be compatible, afterall, when we’re so self-absorbed and self-reliant? How could two people raised in separate families where they didn’t have to compete for attention, didn’t have to share their toys with anyone, didn’t have to share their rooms or beds with anyone learn to get along with each other? Sounds logical enough, but only if you also subscribe to the idea that only children will never marry, will never actively participate in a successful relationship with anyone. Period.

In my experience, other only children truly ‘get’ me in a way that others do not. I’m a sharer to a fault, and maybe  because I’m told by the world that I’m not supposed to be. I have an incredible relationship with a man that is also an only, and is exactly the same way. He is thoughtful beyond anyone I’ve ever known. My best friend is also an only. She has become like a ‘soul sister’ to me in our sixteen year friendship. There is  nothing she can say or do that will change that. We’ve been through our hard times only to learn that nothing can penetrate our bond.  Over the years, I have built relationships with other onlies who I have also had the pleasure of getting to know, and truthfully, I’ve never felt quite as accepted as I have with other only children.

My boyfriend and I have known each other for 20 years, but only have grown to truly know each other for the past two. We spent that time in other relationships, while at the same time building our own friendship based on an understanding that we had this one huge thing in common. As onlies, we have discussed the possibility of starting an ‘only’ support group because we have felt misunderstood at times, and everyone needs a place of refuge. When people have siblings, they have someone that shares memories of their childhood from a perspective very different from that of our parents, whereas as onlies we ‘only’ have our parents with which to share those stories.

My mom was my best friend for many years before her passing last year. She and my stepdad were my world outside of my two sons. I took solace in them when the world seemed to sit squarely on my shoulders. I always knew they had my back, and I could relate to them as well as confide. Now, as an ‘orphan’ I have felt lost at times. No one on the planet remembers my whole life anymore, which makes me feel a little more lonely than I did. So having other onlies that I’m already close to makes the loneliness a little less pronounced, because of one beautiful word: Acceptance.

When I become weird, which I often do, about things like numbers, dates, emotional triggers, I don’t worry about whether or not I will be patronized or that my concerns will be belittled. In reality, I have a huge family of other onlies that share in my struggles and relate to my challenges. I have a built-in support group quite similar to what siblings have. All that I have to do is keep the lines of communication open enough to receive that support. And really, isn’t that all any of us needs to do?

This world can feel lonely, whether we’re onlies or not. All it truly takes is a little bit of trust and sharing to find that none of us are lonely after all.

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The Heather Went Down to Georgia

After a weekend spent learning how to heal minds, bodies & spirits, nothing is more welcome than a good old-fashioned adventure, even if the reason for such an adventure is a funeral. It doesn’t matter what ignites the spontaneity, but just the impulsiveness itself that creates that special brand of anticipation and excitement that only road trips inspire.

I dutifully printed off directions to my destination out of fear that my phone would lose it’s navigation capabilities at exactly the wrong moment. Ironically, I learned that my own map reading skills have grown quite rusty in the same way that I’ve also forgotten how to spell, can no longer memorize phone numbers, and have all but lost my ability to tell time on a regular clock. Thank you smartphones for dumbing us further.

Of course, if I hadn’t had to turn around four times, I may have actually arrived at my hotel in the 3 hours the directions allotted, instead of the four I spent back-tracking, turning around, and second-guessing myself. I wish I could say that I took my time, that I stopped to take pictures of the beautiful horses clad with peace-sign patterned coats, or that I stopped into a few of the junkyard antique stores peppered along the way.

What I can say, however, is that along my journey, I did manage to count exactly four dream homes, one large eerie commune conveniently neighboring an old cemetary, and more than 3 abandoned grocery stores that had been transformed into mega-churches. And all along the way, I had the most incredible monversations. (Yes, that’s a word. I just invented it!).

What this guesscapade has reminded me is that getting lost is fun. I suppose anything is fun when you’re Jones-sing for a change. It’s even more fun when you don’t have anyone fussing at you for making a wrong turn, going the wrong way, or not accurately following their expert navigation. Of course, I am so ‘male’ in that anyway, because I would rather drive around for hours than stop and ask. Asking is too logical, and takes away all the adventure, which also zaps away any possibility for humor.

I think it was at the point where I saw an old crotchety sign that read ‘nifty, nifty, jill is fifty’ (and probably 80 now, or worse…), that the humorous thoughts tumbling around in my silly head stopped their horsing around and sat for a philosophical pause. Here’s why.  People live in these tiny little ghost towns off the beaten path, and may even spend their entire lives spending each and every day looking at the same sights. Maybe they’re stuck there because of poverty. Maybe they stay because they have no desire to see anything outside of their own streets. Maybe they’re afraid of adventure, or take on an ‘if it ain’t broken, why fix it’ approach. And maybe they never leave.

There is something so dignified and praise-worthy about that kind of commitment on the one hand. But to adventurers like me, the whole idea of staying within the same mile your whole life and never venturing out, seems almost tragic. Don’t get me wrong. I love the small city in which I was born, raised, and am still living. Still, the older I get, the more curious I become, because the more I see, the further I want to explore. Life is short enough as it is. Our time is limited. Our world is limited. What is not limited are the possibilities we have to experience our surroundings. Just the adventure itself will open up your mind to new and uncharted hopes and dreams, not to mention those truly interesting, unquestionably ridiculous monversations.

So GO on. Get lost. This Heather Went Down the Georgia, but it wasn’t a soul she was trying to steal. It was simply time away, beyond the mile, beyond the beaten path of the familiar.