Abel Abel

When You Find Yourself Alone and Grieving – Raymond Baxter

A friend that I hadn’t seen nor heard from since high school messaged me yesterday over Facebook. He told me that for months he’s been following my work and that he really enjoys reading and viewing what I put out there. For me, that was a bit of an ego boost seeing as this guy was far more hard working in school than I ever was, and in all the top classes. It started to dawn on me that my work IS actually reaching people and that’s all I want it to do.

The sad thing was, he contacted me to tell me about his relationship that went to the cleaners. He was married, happy, had kids and thought it was that forever type of love when SMASH! Suddenly, separation hit. I couldn’t help but feel bad for him. My marriage is approaching its tenth year soon and the last thing I want to hear is long-term breakups; that really gets me thinking about my own relationship longevity, you know?

Anyway. Even worse is that this poor guy moved to a different country, and like me in a past life, he’s found himself entirely on his own. It was different circumstances for me, but I moved to England to work with my father and he ended up letting me go after two months. By then I had responsibilities to keep up and I just couldn’t afford to move back to my family. So, I was trapped, alone, and with no-one remotely around that gave a stuff about me. His situation is the same; he has kids, but he is the caregiver in that respect, not the other way around.

For me, it was grieving the loss of a support network, a friendship circle, and a social life.

It had me thinking a great deal; what would I do in such a situation? Because make no mistake, if Natalie and I were to split up, I would literally be on my own. My mum lives in a new house with her new man, and most of my other family are dead or don’t care. I would for the first time in my life be truly alone, and that scares the absolute shit out of me. Loneliness is a killer and I know that through a lifetime of working in the Charity Sector.

I was telling my friend I was in a similar situation when I first moved down here. I had no one. I literally spent the days I wasn’t working in my room reading books and I did that for a year and a half. It was a tired and lonesome and homesick life. I can fully relate. Through hard work on my part though, I managed to step out of my cage and get out and meet people, and it’s possible for him to do this too. It’s all too easy to get stuck in a rut and fester away whilst the world rotates.

Here’s what I did:

I recognized that I was grieving and this would take time

For me, it was grieving the loss of a support network, a friendship circle, and a social life. I went from being social to having no one around me. When I was alone, whether relationship troubles, a new city, or running away, I needed to give myself time to adjust to my new settings. That means spending plenty of time with myself. Treating myself to something; a new movie, chocolates, whatever. Start getting into positive routines and learning the lay of the land.

I explored new opportunities

Ultimately this was a new chapter of my life. I hadn’t been in this position before, nor did I ever have this much free time on my hands. So, I explored what was available, what bars I could go to, what clubs I could frequent. Were there any groups I could explore a few hobbies with? Hobbies are great for switching focus into something I liked doing.

I changed my mindset

One of the hardest activities I had to master was thinking about ‘how life used to be’ and sometimes it’s great to reminisce in the past, but that’s all it will be. The past. I had to look forward, start creating a new life for myself. If I kept looking at what could have been and how things could have gone, I would be taking my focus off what I should be doing NOW. As you can see NOW is important because all that should matter is what am I doing NOW to create a better future for myself.

I wasn’t afraid to meet new people

New people bring new dynamics. I welcome that because it brings new experiences to my life. I meet new people, I meet new friends and explore new things. It’s often hard at my age to make new friends because we find ourselves set in our own ways but you’ll be surprised at how many people are open to friendships.

I explored the possibility of something intimate

I’ve never had a long-term break up before, yet I have seen some of my friends do so and they have been out of action for months. But it’s something to heavily consider once the healing is underway. I always like to go where life takes me and I think if something possibly romantic appears on the horizon then don’t shun it. Those funny body actions aren’t doing it for nothing you know. Never pass up a good opportunity to fall in desperate love

Last but not least—I recognized boundaries

Being the new guy on the block a few times in my life, it’s positioned a certain few people to take advantage of me in certain ways. And they did. Because I was new I was more susceptible to influence because I was wanting to fit in and be liked. I didn’t realize that my morality and integrity should have been far more important than being liked. Always stay true to yourself and you’ll meet the right sort of people.

Hope you enjoyed this. Talking to my friend inspired this article and I hope it was of use to you too.

Thank you!

(This article by Raymond Baxter previously posted on the Good Men Project, click here for more)