Every single day it’s me at home alone with Felix and Maisy, but then I get to spend my evenings with my husband. Those few evening hours aren’t enough, and the pets aren’t great conversationalists. It’s lonely. And the loneliness has made me so desperate for human contact I’ll put up with things that bring me down and make me unhappy because it seems better than having no human contact at all.
My therapist keeps saying it is only natural that someone in my situation would make that choice even when it seems so obviously counterproductive. I know in my head she’s right. But I still feel pathetic for being so desperate I’d allow a friendship to be entirely on someone else’s terms, all the while frequently feeling uncomfortable as can be because I wasn’t setting limits.
Every challenge in our lives is an opportunity for growth, including the profound loneliness I and so many of you reading this live with. For me it’s an opportunity to strengthen relationships with people I love, but haven’t made a priority, such as my brother. It’s also an opportunity to practice gratitude. I have an amazing husband and a wonderful marriage. Somehow despite the extreme challenges for both of us associated with my health issues, we are happier and more satisfied and fulfilled than ever. I can’t take that for granted. I have an amazing, supportive and understanding family. I can’t take that for granted, either.
Human contact is super important, but there’s a lot to be said about the simplicity of our relationships with our pets. Those little cuddle monsters ask for so little, but give me so much in return. It’s an easy exchange. We cuddle each other and everyone is happy. Well, everyone except my husband, who gets tired of all the pet hair that collects on his side of the bed each day. It’s a good thing he loves me enough to overlook it.