Loneliness is art’s greatest muse. Some of the greatest songs, paintings, movies, and books are themed by the need for companionship or the cure of someone’s solitary sickness by finding someone else.
I’m terrible as a single person. While I’ve never been one of those “always gotta have someone” kind of people, my “best”, whatever the hell that is, is brought out of me by my wife and kids. I’ve spent three different parts of my life single; ages seventeen to twenty, ages twenty-three to twenty-six and ages thirty-five to almost thirty-eight. While I neither robbed any liquor stores or killed anyone during those roughly nine years, the bulk of my self-destructive behavior occurred then.
My wife left for Orlando, Florida with a girlfriend yesterday. One of my three daughters is with her other family for a few days. My other two girls are on spring break, and thus hanging at home. While I’m technically not single, I mean I’m wearing my ring and my 17-year-old and 8-year-old who are at home would pretty much take out any other women who showed up at the house in one punch. But I am alone, especially after the kids go to bed. It’s weird. The girls are less loud than usual. I’m sleeping on my wife’s side of the bed. Too much information? Maybe. But it speaks to what marriage or the better term, companionship, really defines.
I’ve always been a one person at a time kind of guy. I tried dating two women at once when I was in my twenties and I think the fact I could find more than one person who liked me was so overwhelming, it sapped my energy for two of them. I’ll read about dudes who maintain separate families or multiple mistresses and I just don’t know how they do it. They must drink a five-hour energy every hour and have iron bear trap memories to balance their stories. I can’t remember my kids’ names or what my wife asked me to get at the grocery store without her texting it to me and giving me a list written in very black ink.
I think what makes me a good married person is I’m, by nature, a people pleasing person. Yes, feel free to say that three times fast. It also makes me qualified to live with four women. I tend to sacrifice more than satisfy my own needs and that’s how I was raised. My dad did this too. When I encounter single friends I always laugh at their “I don’t need anyone” or “I wish I could find someone” attitudes. I never said either of those sentences because when I was single, I was either really drunk or just really busy. That’s why loneliness is such a great muse for artistic types. It promotes alcoholism and hard work.
My wife comes back Wednesday. That’s a busy day for me work-wise and our 9-year-old has judo that night. I’m laying off the booze because being a good dad requires that? Or should I be drinking? I forget the new rules. But I’m staying busy by writing a new book, promoting the other one, and working my real job while making sure the girls are okay barricading the house against the wanton loose women who know I’m the wife’s gone. You people do know that’s sarcasm, right?
You know you are with the right person when you miss them. The first time I was married, I viewed alone times as precious moments when God was telling me I was pretty cool after all. But this time, I’m with the right person and the moments are lonely, not alone. I don’t think this is whining as much as it is the muse of loneliness making me appreciate what I have, even when she’s at Sea World with Shamu.