Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Learning to be Alone

I've had it relatively easy so far compared to other military spouses, so please don't interpret any of this as empty complaining.  This year we're riding the deployment learning curve, and I'm actually surprised by how different it can be.  Fortunately we don't have to face the sheer duration of time which seems to be standard issue in other circumstances; David is already gone on his second deployment in as many months.  Subsequent runs will be longer, but I'm glad we've had this warm-up period.  Up to this point, we had hardly spent two weeks apart (collectively) in the two years we've been married.

Now I'm trying to process the life of a childless, unemployed military wife with no husband to look after.  The middle of the day is remarkably unchanged, but mornings and evenings are suddenly very aimless.  The worst part is the recurring question, "What's the point?"

I used to wake up when Dave woke up, snooze while he showered, and then crawl out of bed to make breakfast.  We would have a nice visit while he got dressed, and when he left I would start my day, usually by 6:30.  Then I could do whatever until 4:00 or 5:00 that evening, when he would come home and I would start dinner.  He would ask, "Wanna watch something?", and we'd eat on the couch in front of a laptop and watch Netflix.  Then we'd go our separate ways doing our own things until bedtime.  Then the routine would begin again.  This actually did happen every single day with very little variation.

Now I can't be bothered to get up while it's still dark because there's no point in getting up.  There is no one to make a hot breakfast for, so I usually settle for cereal at around 9:30.  There is no one to dress for if I'm not running errands, so I end up wearing sweat pants and a ratty sweater.  What is the point of making a decent dinner?  Why should I turn extra lights on, or turn up the heat; it's only me here.  What is the point of going to bed on time if there's no one to go to bed with, and nowhere I need to be in the morning?  My life plan had obviously included children by this point, but that hasn't happened, so apparently I'm free to live the life of a twelve-year-old on summer vacation.

It's not as though I do nothing.  I've actually been doing a lot of writing exercises and working on my stocking commissions for this year.  It's the quiet that bothers me, the silence in the morning when I try to convince myself to get up and face my boring morning routine, exactly the same as yesterday and with very little prospect of anything more exciting happening until tomorrow morning when we can do it all over again.  When I do get rolling, I end up engrossed in whatever project I'm working on for hours on end until I finally look up and realize I'm hungry (maybe I should finally make lunch) or have to use the bathroom (has it been another four hours already?), and then it's quiet again.  I often stay up later than I usually would because I would rather keep playing that YouTube video or watch another Netflix episode than turn everything off and putter around a dark, cold, silent apartment.  

I asked one of my single friends last month how she avoided "What's the point?" syndrome.  Being on active duty in the navy herself, she said the prospect of going to jail if she didn't show for work was motivation enough.  Point taken.  I've often contemplated getting a job, especially now that we have extra debts to pay down and have abandoned any thought of attempting a pregnancy in the near future.  Making stockings is fun and all, but I'm essentially making $1/hour, and that isn't counting expenses.  The extra paycheck would be nice, but the only job I have paper proof of being qualified for is retail, and that stint at Target left me with an acute case of retailitis.  We shall see.  

2 comments:

  1. When I lived alone, I found it really helpful to keep the radio on. Having a source of input to my life that wasn't entirely within my control made me feel less lonely. Doesn't do a thing for those empty mornings and evenings, I admit. When John is gone I always stay up an hour later because I just don't know when to go to bed! Oops.

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  2. I've been thinking about getting a radio for a while. I kind of surprised myself when I realized we didn't actually have one in the house.

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