Last weekend I got super antsy. It was a classic Single-When-All-Your-Friends-Are-Ensconced-In-Relationships scenario: I’d rung around everyone I knew, trying to fill out my weekend with activity…and everyone was busy…with husbands and kids and family barbeques and trips to Bunnings. Or whatever. And I felt abandoned. Then I felt like a loser for caring.

Image via rosencrown.blogspot.com.au
Image via rosencrown.blogspot.com.au

And so on it spiraled.

I work hard to not be a whining single. I largely find single life pretty ace. But something in me was craving intimacy and company. I was needy and the planet could smell it. A Sunday night buddy. I just want someone to watch a DVD on the couch with! Is this asking too much??!!

And, as my antsyiness descended: If I didn’t call my mates to organise catching up and connecting, would anyone call me? If I died…would anyone notice? How long would it take to find my corpse? If a single falls in the forest and no one is around to care, do they make a sound?

Sunday morning, however, I got a grip, got on a train up north and did one of my bush excursions. Fling yourself into bush. Climb a tree. I once had this edict taped to the back of my bedroom door for just such antsy moments.

Life was against me, however. The Northern line was undergoing work, so it took me four trains and a bus to get to the starting point. I’d eaten too much for breakfast and felt heavy. The weather turned. I could’ve given up. But I persevered.

Finally, two hours later with rain imminent, I entered the bush, not a soul in sight. Within minutes my whole energy shifted. I unfurled. I came back home to myself.

And I realized this: I hadn’t been craving other people. I’d been craving me. My little Silly Season-frazzled soul wanted to be taken care of by… me. It wanted to be carted off into the bush, where it feels most at home in the world, for some free thinking and the rhythmic caressing of provided by walking.

Have you noticed that when we get needy and that terrible abandoned feeling creeps in, nothing works out? Right when you need company and care the most, people smell your desperation and flee. Trains stop. Thunderclouds roll in. The abandonment intensifies. It’s cruel, it really is.

But if we get still and raw and honest we can realize what’s going on: our soul rejects everything in an effort to get what it needs. It sabotages. It smells and repels everything else. Until, finally, exhausted and hurt, we get the message. And we take our soul on a little excursion.

It’s good to sit back when we get agitated and ask ourselves what’s really going on. What am I really needing? Perhaps what I need is right here.

PS if you’re after a great technique for getting closer to yourself, this meditation technique where you sit next to yourself really works. Perfect for this time of year when our souls are fragmented.

PPS Happy Christmas everyone. We’re shutting down from today. I’m heading bush for a bit. I hope you all have restful, soul-caressing breaks with family and friends. See you January 6.

Have your say, leave a comment.

  • Marie

    Yes, yes, yes! We have bush/river across the road and when I need calm or energy I simply cross over into a space where I’m surrounded by trees and I feel like I’m being hugged….by Mother Nature!
    I hope you have a joyful Christmas Sarah. x

  • Emily Gable

    i love having the ocean waves wash wake me up to myself, either sitting watching or letting it push through/around me. what intense moments!

  • me

    Brilliantly honest post

  • Pia

    This is the best thing you have ever written, so honest and real. I completely relate xxx

    • Really!? Nice feedback. Thank you.

      • Crystal

        Sarah, i also loved this post, and totally relate to you!! I am also very single, yet every day learn more about myself and my life goals!!

  • katly

    thank you! I too get that way at times, this time of year is hard. I shall keep this in mind……go for a walk, go for a drive to the beach (its a long way) just do something for me…..sooth my soul! clear my mind….take a breath

  • Tara A

    Loved this post Sarah. In fact it’s made me a little emotional. I love spending this kind of time by myself but I haven’t done it (I’m ashamed to admit) for years. I’d do it today if I wasn’t a stay at home mum. This Saturday I have a few hours to myself, I’ll be in the middle of Inner Western suburbs of Sydney so I’ll have to find my ‘bush’ there. At a minimum I’ll find a quiet spot to do the ‘sit next to yourself’ meditation. Thanks for sharing. A very timely message that my soul needed. Have a very merry Christmas in the bush. I’ll be secretly wishing I was doing the same at many points throughout the day I’m sure. And a Happy New Year.

    • Mojo

      Constant struggle for me as a stay at home parent to find time to just ‘be’ by myself. I yearn for solitude, walking through the bush or biking with just my own thoughts and no other demands on me for the time that I am doing that. So incredibly hard as a mum. So hard.

  • Lisa

    All the single ladies! All the single ladies!! 🙂 We rule!

  • Jacq

    Sister, you are singing my song (and especially the refrain)! Thank you x

  • Nicole

    Merry Christmas Sarah Wilson!
    I have moments like this every now and then. I feel much happier when I’ve accomplished something by myself and come out of a lull when I didn’t think it was possible. Only you can bring on the happiness and I totally agree that ‘me’ time makes things a whole lot better!!

  • Jessica

    Perfection. Perfect sentiment, perfect timing. The holidays always bring this out in me and I needed a reminder. Thank you!

    • Ditto Jessica. Sometimes having a post to get me focused on reminding myself is a blessing!

    • Helen

      I totally agree perfect timing! This post really spoke to me!

  • Judy

    A beautiful, honest story.

  • Sarah

    I am sitting on the cusp of getting away on my own. I feel incredible guilt at taking my leave from the family and all the stuff still to be done before the ‘celebrations’ begin. But I also recognise that deep and intense need for silence. quiet. space. I too am craving .. me.

  • Leanne

    I love your writing, Sarah – every post is a gem! Have a wonderful, relaxing Christmas and enjoy your time off.

  • Benno

    U bought a couch?????

  • Monika

    Recommended reading:
    “One: living as one and loving it” by Victoria Alexander

    Ones:
    Know a relationship is not the only path to happiness
    Are aware everyone needs space from time to time
    Are unique, know it and celebrate it
    Feel comfortable in their own skin
    Are happy with their own company
    Use their potential
    Like who they are
    Enjoy their freedom
    Think of other’s needs, are empathetic
    Have healthy self talk
    Love every moment
    Are prepared to try new things
    Take risks
    Seek help when needed
    Know the value of solitude…

    🙂

  • Ashleigh

    wow, this hit so close to home in the best epiphany filled way. thank you! happy christmas and new year! 🙂

  • Caroline

    Not only singles feel lonely, just because you’re in a couple doesn’t mean that you won’t sometimes feel like no one cares, it’s usually misguided thinking whether you’re single or coupled up.

    I burst out laughing at “if a single falls in the forest, and no one is around to care, do they make a sound”. Hilarious play on the typical usual “tree” scenario.

    • true about the couples thing. I’ve been lonelier in a relationship

      • Jane

        Yes… I’ve felt dreadfully lonely and isolated in relationships where I seem to give myself away. It’s a loss of connection with self. I’m starting to see that considering yourself “the one” is the key. If you’re good to yourself, you’re primed to be good to everyone around you 🙂

  • You framed this in a way that had never really occurred to me.
    I’ve been
    feeling the same – abandoned. Loserly for caring. One of my closest
    friends (and nearly last-of-the-singles) has, over the past year, become
    seriously relationshipped, and recently I have entered the spiral. And
    it’s this exact, “when are we going to have a wine and movie night, just
    us?” thought/feeling That keeps bubbling up.

    I realize there is
    some jealousy there. Not over having a boyfriend – I’m truly happy
    without! – but someone else taking up more of her time. Not being the
    go-to on her list. But also the sudden realization that all my friends
    are coupled off. And the shock feeling of being left…alone. And what
    the hell do I do with myself now?

    Of course, I’ll go on doing
    much the same. I love my life and enjoy my singledom, so that isn’t the problem. But this helps makes things clear now, that I
    hadn’t quite put together. That what I really need is more of me. I’ve
    never been one for a bush run, and, granted, there IS a foot of snow on
    the ground, but I need to find ways to truly connect and care for
    myself and spend more time with me.

    I think what helps even more
    is knowing I’m not strange or alone in feeling like this. Because it
    DOES feel like abandonment. And I felt like a loser. And like no one
    wanted to spend time with me. And then I also felt selfish for feeling
    this way at all.

    This was perfectly timed. As almost always.

    Thanks for this.

    • Tam

      Completely get this Sarah. I feel exactly the same way every now and again – find myself sending a flurry of texts into the ether just because I feel like I should be doing something with someone, even if its not really what I want/need. Nine times out of ten just going for a walk/run solves most of life’s ailments, doesn’t it? Thank goodness!!!

  • Dolly Levi

    Merry Christmas Sarah & Team. Thanks for all the lovely stories and guidance you’ve shared this year. I did your IQS 8-week plan Sarah and, am still feeling wonderful, would recommend anyone thinking about it to sign up. I hope you all have a wonderful 2014 xx

  • Kate

    Sarah, you have written a beautiful post here. Honest, open and reaching out to us all. You are an inspiration!

  • mw

    Well done you !! For such a great piece of writing And for solving your Soul dilemma so insightfully and sharingly.

  • jane

    God I love you Sarah. Worst time of the year for singles – now and Easter. What is it with religious celebrations that seems to bring out the neediness in us especially if one is not even religious. Spiritual, yes. Religious, no. Me, I take myself off to the beach every…single…time, when my soul is searching but I just may try the bush now, as a result of reading this – although I think I’ll wait until the thermometer reaches a more sane level.”restful, soul-caressing break” – beautiful wishes thank you! and you too…

  • Lopsy

    Brilliant post again Sarah……as someone just said, one of your best…
    Difficult time of year for many people, terrible time for some single and childless people as well. That awful feeling that you used to get when there was nooone to ‘play with’ when you were a kid…..
    I really hear you on this one…..perfect timing, yet again Ms Wilson.
    I’m off to Gambia for a week long holiday ON MY OWN, as I have no family here in UK and don’t want to do Xmas with someone elses family ( been there done that)……
    I love travelling on my own….but its still going to be confronting and challenging and lonely at times….but the thrill of arriving and exploring a strange new land….is too enticing!
    Thanks for making me feel like a ‘not a loser’ LOL.
    Hope you have a lovely time with your family over the break and cant wait for the New Year to read all about your feelings on things and your honest stories.
    There are so many people in our situation now…..we really have to keep owning it and talking and being open about whats really going on inside of us….
    Take care!
    Lopsy in London

  • This is a beautiful post. One of my favourite things to do when I feel that way is go for a long walk in the park and spend some time with myself x

  • Lucy Rundle

    Love your work Sarah. Have a wonderful Christmas and New Year x

  • Annabel

    Thank you so much Sarah, I really needed to hear this today. I’ve never commented before, but your writing has been a constant source of inspiration for me for 2 years now! Have a very Merry Christmas!

  • Kathryn

    Beautiful, thank you. I also finding getting into the water and scrunching my toes into the sand works well. I love the idea of a note as a reminder. I’ve just written the things I most love to do in nature on a note and stuck it near my desk.

  • Natalie

    Wow, this was surprisingly apt today. Been getting anxious about when my feller is going to make a solid commitment to me, despite being happy together and feeling loved and moving progressively to a solid commitment, neediness has been overtaking. What a timely reminder, to ask myself what is really going on, where is this abandonment and agitation really coming from? Oh yes, lil ol me! Good to remember. Now it’s time to take me on a little caring trip for the soul. Thanks Sarah!

  • Kez

    Loved this article Sarah !! One of your very best IMHO .. It helps a lot 🙂

  • KS

    Thanks Sarah, this really resonated with me and even got me a bit emotional. I had one of these exact moments last night. A beautiful summer’s night and no one about to share it with, I had exhausted my contact list! In hindsight I probably should have just done what I wanted to do on my own. I’ll keep this in mind for next time. Have a great Chrissy! x

  • Katiebobatie

    Thanks for your honesty. I sometimes find it hard to admit when I am lonely, like it is a reflection of something wrong with me. I think regardless of if you are single or not, sometimes we all feel abandoned. Glad though that you were able to perservere and get out of mope-ville and really do something good for yourself with the alone time:-)

  • SB

    A love your honesty in this post. There is nothing like the company of Mother Nature, we are so spoilt here is Australia with places we can enjoy. Christmas makes me get all reflective..and I start to think what could have, should have and would have…which can get me down. I was walking past a bar on Thursday afternoon. It was packed with jolly souls all having a laugh. It was one of those afternoons my phone had not made a sound..and I had no plans but wanted some. But once I stepped onto the beach..this feeling of desperation disappeared with every step. Have a Merry Christmas. 🙂

  • Libby

    I really needed this today, thank you Sarah and the universe, xx

  • Jade

    Can you recommend some places to go bush walking in Sydney please Sarah? I grew up in the bush, and even though I do love living by the ocean now, sometimes I feel the need to retreat into the bush. Thanks! x

    • Hmmm, I need to do a post on this. Stay tuned.

  • Ms Jane

    I’m not single but I am parentless (they’ve both passed away) and I really struggle this time of year as everyone’s busy with their family. I feel lonely, sad and very sorry for myself!!! Thanks for this post. It’s a reminder that this will pass, that I have myself for company and that I need to go and get in the ocean!!!

    • Elle

      That must be really hard Jane :(.I hope you can create your own little family of friends/people you do have.

    • Yes, the ocean!

  • Ninipops

    Wow what amazing timing Sarah – thanks! Whilst I’m in a new relationship I still feel very much the single woman I’ve been for many years. I’ve found this time of year to be challenging not because I’m single but because everyone is more focused on family and if they have a husband/wife and children (which I don’t) then I feel, well, different to them. And they aren’t as available. When I read your post it was like you were talking to me. Actually it was as if it was me telling the story to you. And what’s interesting is that now I have a boyfriend, who I’ve fallend in love with, I still feel like the single girl of past. Because it’s not the being single that is the ‘gap’ – it’s the being real when you are lost in the ‘love’. When single you can get lost in the ‘solo’. Actually I’ve been feeling rather overwhelmed by this new relationship. But after reading your article I am going to be in the NOW and only focus on what my soul desires. Nurture and nature. Love it. Thank you! Happy festive season. 😉 Ninipops

  • merry christmas sarah x
    i love and appreciate your intense honesty!
    i am married and still have a lonely feeling on a sunday, one that stems back to childhood.
    being outdoors, in the bush or by the beach are my preferred choices to help feel contented. but you are right, it’s inside and no plans or people or stuff can really change that.
    jen x

  • Hadrian

    Ah people schmeeple. Who needs ’em when you have three seasons of Game Of Thrones to keep you (obsessively) company 😉

    On a more serious note, lovely post Sarah, very honest and open.

  • Tez

    “Being Alone is Not the same as being Lonely”

    Happy Christmas!

  • Catherine

    You are so cool! You manage to put into words feelings that I myself am scared to admit to others and even myself sometimes! I can so relate to what you have said and I actually thought I was the only one who felt like that! Thank you, next time I feel lonely it might help knowing there are others like us!
    I’m a new mum so I’m definitely never alone to be lonely anymore, but I certainly do feel it sometimes and it makes sense now that I miss myself. I will try to get a bit more me time to reconnect. And no, I’m not being selfish, I love my little family more than anything but I love me and miss me too and I think realising this will make me a better partner and mum.
    Thank you for your honesty.

    Merry Christmas 🙂

  • Matthew Cheyne

    Whenever I feel lonely or lonelyish because I am single and other people are not, I like to do some self compassion lovingkindness guided meditation that I found on the meditation app Insight Timer. I find that it helps me realize that I am okay the way I am and that I don’t need to be perfect and in fact nobody on this planet is perfect – we all have imperfections in our lives. They are the cracks that let the light in. So fully embrace your singleness. One day your prince or princess charming (I don’t know you well so please don’t be offended by that) may come into your life and you may wish to have some space and hark back to your single days of peace and happiness.

    For the record, I am spending Christmas Day alone watching blu-rays at home. If it were not for the fact that you live in Sydney and I live in regional Victoria, I would love to spend some time watching DVDs with you.

    May you, your readers and all you love and cherish have a merry christmas, safe and happy new year and a beautiful 2014.

  • Queenie

    This is lovely but…
    we need people. We are social animals. It’s fine to feel lonely, I don’t know if it’s so fine to pretend that you can be everything to yourself, and that all you need is yourself. I am the most self-resourceful and independent woman I personally know, but I need people, and I need to love and be loved, and be held and hold, and look after other people and be looked after. And I won’t back down and pretend I can do all of this for myself, that’s just not true, and also I think it’s wrong. We were put here to share, and I don’t think it’s at all unnatural to feel like howling at the moon when one is single and lonely. Howl away, but you do need other people, intimately. That’s normal. Trying to be warrior person who doesn’t really need to be intimate with anyone but yourself is not. The bush is not a substitute for a living, loving human being (ps I grew up in the deep bush, love it acutely, crave it desperately when I am not there, and haven’t been in a proper relationship for several years, before anybody leaps in and comments that I’m probably happily married!)

  • Sally

    Hi sarah, just skimming through some of the responses to your post and realising that we all feel the same feelings and have many of the same thoughts at various times in our lives. That in itself is comforting.

    And as others have said- single or coupled: either scenario doesn’t exclude one from loneliness or just needing that “thing” that makes you feel good…whether that be company, a hug, an outing, whatever.

    Sending you a virtual hug. 🙂
    Happy Christmas.

  • wow i can really relate to this!

    the feeling of being “single” hits me most on sundays.

    thanks for being so vulnerable in your writing sarah.

    it’s definitely healing through transference.
    xo
    carla

  • Lisa Hough Pottle

    I hate to say this… I feel this way sometimes and I’m married. I do love my hubby, 25 years of adventure behind us and counting. Sometimes I get antsy and I feel like I’m gonna pop if I don’t do something different. I’m working on finding out what will quiet my soul and give me peace.

  • Anja

    Good morning Sarah, thanks for your great post. On a tangent from it..Im curious in knowing a bit more about why so many attractive women are single today. Would you care to write a post with your thoughts or reactions to that question?

  • Joseph Di Bennardo

    Connecting with oneself is so important. I find travel and trekking to be the two most valuable ways for me to understand my true self. Everyone yearns intimacy, however self love and inner peace are the only things which allow us to be open to receiving it. Thank you for sharing this, I loved this because it was genuine and from the heart. Namaste. 🙂

  • Kate Elizabeth

    I think it’s a brave post sarah, because I think it’s often easier to not voice the single frustration, because you don’t want a naff encouragement or salve from a coupled up friend. Well-intended but unfortunately naff.
    I have only felt this frustration this year, when that many of my friends have paired off, and I realised I can no longer invest all of my time in coupled-up friends. They can’t often give back when I need it. Leading to feelings of abandonment and ancy-ness. Instead of feeling desperate about organizing something to do on New Years, I’m going to do something different. Nothing. I think I would feel lonelier at a coupled up party than on my own. So I’m not going to put myself through it this time. Thanks for sharing sarah.

  • Cathy Larter

    Wow
    I’ve been a single mum for 13 or so years and mostly love it and my great social life but boy did that resonate with me when I have my moments-fleeting as they are.
    I absolutely love going for bush wslks to Mt Tambourine or Mt Warning. I feel whole again. Thank you for a delightful read and Merry Christmas 🙂

  • I have two signs on the back of my door. #1 says “Do you NEED to take your mobile phone with you”. #2 says “Is it a good night to eat dinner on the beach?”. Remembering where we are when we feel our best gets forgotten sometimes. It’s a practice. Loved this post Sarah.

  • TDMJ

    Thank you so much Sarah, for articulating what I’ve been feeling
    but hadn’t thought (or really tried!) to put into words.

    I too am (perpetually!) single, and while I love it most of
    the time, of course, I too have moments where I think, hmm, what’s wrong with me? Will I one day regret not trying harder to find a partner? I really miss that (romantic) love and intimacy, will I ever have that again!?

    Sometimes I try to reach out and fill my calendar – and usually
    I encounter the same (rather unusual) echoing silence that you do.

    More often, and almost instinctively, at these times, I feel
    the need to withdraw somewhere alone, like it’s an affirmation to myself that I’m alright on my own. Perhaps not as environmentally friendly as yours 😉 I generally feel a strong need to take a long drive, somewhere scenic, with some great music playing and lots of time for thinking and reflection.

    Your post here helps me understand why I *really* feel this need. Thanks again 🙂

  • Christina

    Good post – But I really hope you find a love partner in 2014

  • Sophie

    THANK YOU Sarah for making me feel like a human being again after reading this post. For 8 years now, I have suffered from 2 chronic health conditions for which there is no effective treatment. I had to quit my job, and have been pretty much housebound since. This has destroyed any friendships I had, and I have been ostracised by not just friends, but by relatives as well. Everyone is getting on with their lives – their careers are progressing, they are getting married & having kids etc. I feel like a freak and an outcast because I don’t fit into any sort of ‘norm’ – but the worst part is that I have been made to feel like that by others. And I too have those thoughts about if I disappeared off the face of the planet, would anyone even care? But even though I might not able to get out into nature like you did, I will try use your post above as inspiration to try and find myself – it might be in a different way, but thank you helping me realise that it’s not just me who is having those thoughts, and that I am a human like everyone else, even though they sometimes make me feel that I’m not.

  • Sal

    Wow, what a great post Sarah! I love reading so many great blogs on the internet and find inspiration from them, even though most of them are about happy families. I’m sitting here in tears from reading your post and the comments, I relate to the post and you have articulated what I often feel. I spent Christmas with my family but the hard time its when all of the celebrations are over and i’m on holidays alone. I too love being single but sometimes its just hard…

  • kylie

    This makes me miss the bush so much. I live in Paris now, though I grew up with a lot of time in the bush…i see how my kids need it but I just can’t give it to them…We have to be happy with yoga & trying to make each other laugh, till the summer time comes & we can abandon the city!

  • Miney Dodd

    Thank you for this, nice and clear post. I sometimes spend the day with me, indeed I’m off on honeymoon with me soon 🙂 (I’ll bring my dog too of course)

  • kawe

    Love your blog

  • Thank you for being vulnerable enough to share. It so true, I love to sit by the river with my Chihuahua mix when I need restoration. There is contemplation and sometimes even beautiful cleansing tears 🙂

  • Lizzie

    i have just found your blog tonight and i am absolutely loving it. I too have posted a few feel good blogs but yours are in another league. I shall enjoy reading more of you

    lizzie xx

    http://beautybybungi.blogspot.co.uk

  • Stami

    I can totally relate. Sometimes it’s good to remind myself that I’m not the only person in the world that feels this way, or that gets hurt by others.

  • The Queen Of Dreaming

    I liked your post so much (maybe because yesterday I was in the same mood?) and today I’m going for a walk in the fields by myself, I really need this!

    http://justsem.wordpress.com

  • Danni

    I have just come across this beautiful post on a rainy Friday afternoon in London, frantically trying to make plans to fill my weekend…but after reading this with tears welling I know exactly what my soul needs to be doing this weekend…me time…my shoulders have relaxed and I feel calm again. Thank you, thank you! Love all of your writing x