For the first 18-years of my life I lived with my parents and three sisters. We are not a very close family when it comes to expressing our love. There are very few hugs, kisses and words of the loving variety, and I think that largely stems from the upbringing that my parents had when they were younger.
At 18-years of age I left home for the first time. It was a work related move and I rented a room in a house belonging to a work colleague. I don’t remember missing my friends and family too much, but I think this was largely down to the fact that I shared a house with someone, the novelty of being on my own for the first time and spending long hours at the office.
After a few months I moved into my own apartment. I had terrible problems sleeping. I was scared and lonely. I would never have admitted it back then, but I always thought someone was going to break into the house and murder me. The streetlights always illuminated my room and I appreciated it because I had always feared the dark – still do.
I hated living on my own. I wasn’t bored – far from it – I had my video games, music and idiot box. But there was something missing. A feeling in my stomach that felt slightly unpleasant. I would suffer with depression and didn’t have the resources to deal with it because I wasn’t even aware that I was suffering. It was just who I was. I drank and smoked back then and so I turned to those two outlets to relieve my loneliness. Nothing changed.
After getting into terrible debt I ran back into the welcoming arms of my parents, and stayed there for the next three years until I got engaged to my ex wife and moved in with her. I spent the next 15-years living with my ex-wife and son.
I obviously developed a strong bond of companionship, and love, with both my ex-wife, and son, during the years that we spent together. We fought and disagreed like most couples do, but we loved each other. I never felt lonely. I always felt like someone had my back. I couldn’t imagine life any other way and just assumed we would grow old and die together.
When I stopped drinking loneliness found me once more. I felt isolated from everyone. I was seeing things differently and this new world was alien to me. I couldn’t connect with people anymore and this included my ex wife. Although she was scared about the changes I was going through she backed me to the hilt, but I just wasn’t able to live with my changes. I couldn’t come to terms with the fact that she carried on drinking. The very poison I was trying to run away from surrounded me and it created a lot of anger. I directed this anger at my ex-wife and found solitude in poker. I buried myself in the game and it distanced me from my ex-wife and son.
Looking back now it doesn’t seem surprising that my ex wife asked for a divorce as neither of us had the skills to manage our conflict. I think I would find it difficult to ever get back into a relationship with someone who drinks alcohol; there isn’t room for it in my life.
I moved in with my parents. Back to the house I had left when I was 18-years of age. I am so grateful for having somewhere to call home when I need it, but I was still surrounded by the things that I hate the most: drinking and smoking. I started to judge everyone and this included my parents. I couldn’t sit and connect with them because I refused to sit and consume their smoke. This led to banishment to my bedroom.
I didn’t go out with my friends because all they did was drink. Just as I started to retreat from the world again I met my current partner. I was attracted by her beauty but the more I got to know her the more I realised she had all of the qualities I had wanted in a woman. I fell in love and despite all of my baggage and issues she has stuck with me for the past two years.
We have an apartment together in Cardiff, but my partner has her family in Los Angeles. The 15-years I spent living with my ex-wife and child must have had a tremendous psychological impact on my sub-conscious mind. When I am alone in my flat in Cardiff I have to try every trick in the book to combat my loneliness. I feel depressed and stressed when I am on my own.
To not live with your only child is a fate I would not wish on anyone. The pain I feel at times is unbearable. I love him so very much and yet I feel responsible for the very situation I find myself in. I have forgiven myself, but it still doesn’t stop the pain.
When I am with my son or with my girlfriend I am happy. I am in love. The energy that emanates from these two people inspires me. It lights me up and makes me feel radiant. When they are not around it dims and I have to work very hard to keep the embers burning.
This is why if I were to live life all over again I would choose love and companionship for my bucket list goal. To live a life of loneliness is to miss the point of what it means to be human. I don’t think our creators designed us to live life on our lonesome. Not this model anyway.
Name one thing that would be on your bucket list?
Photo courtesy of Camdiluv cc & flickr.com