Although hard to miss, every year, we instinctively resist her. We remember the afternoon skies which came before, the autumn clouds running free, ignited with the fiery brushstrokes of fall. As the leaves whisper their final good-bye, the weight of darkness falls, and suddenly we’re hit – and we know –winter has arrived.

Every year, it seems – winter comes too soon.  As if overnight, she cloaks the sky with a deeper hue, staring boldly into our eyes, while batting her trademark holiday twinkling lights, offering a small consolation for the darkness. The longer she’s here, the faster we realize – time waits for no one. So we bundle up alongside her, lace our fingers with her breath, and walk with the reality of her presence.

As a hopeful romantic, I find myself thinking about relationships this time of year. Something about the holidays carries a deep sentiment to my soul. And wanting to curl up with a warm body, agree when to bust out the flannel sheets (I’m a huge proponent), and exchange post-orgasmic pillow talk, all seems mystical and out-of reach.

Enter, Patrick. You may recall the story I shared about this gem of a dude, back in May. He’s been in my life for ages, but because we live worlds apart, we don’t get to hang often, which totally blows. But then again, it really doesn’t matter, because if not in the flesh, or through a phone line, text or email – he’s always nestled within the beatings of my heart. Seriously. The man is a constant presence, holding close in memory, his voice when we laugh, certain catch-phrases he doesn’t realize he says, even the smell of his skin when we embrace a long-awaited hello.

The last time I saw Patrick, I learned a valuable lesson (he’s good at teaching those – little fucker). I learned about personal expectations, and putting myself first, before the dreamer in me has a chance to let loose, carrying me on a cloud of denial and fantasy.  I learned that wanting validation from anyone is not only unhealthy; it’s a losing battle if you don’t value yourself.

Then life happened. Time passed.

Months went by, and Patrick and I shared zero communication. But that was remedied recently and we were able to catch up. It was perfect.

This isn’t to say our friendship doesn’t have its moments. I can’t even tell you how we differ on certain opinions and beliefs, but with us it doesn’t seem to matter. The light we bring to the surface with each other radiates within our spirit – propelled by the mere fact we can be totally honest, not just saying what we think the other person wants to hear. Freedom and comfort have a way of allowing us to stand with faith in our convictions, while respecting certain things we wholeheartedly disagree on. Isn’t it awesome – when love and respect are in the mix  – shit doesn’t need to get ugly.

Being alone isn’t new for me. And to be honest, sometimes it blows. But for the most part, I’m genuinely fulfilled and happy. Riding the wave of “Alone” is not only freeing, it’s a welcome opportunity for me to wrap my world around my dreams, without anything taking from my focus.

A HAPPY middle-aged singleton? What would the neighbors think!? Funny thing about not giving a shit what others think – it makes giving a shit about what I think that much easier.

I have no idea when Patrick and I will connect again, but I’m absolutely certain we will in the months ahead.

Following my dreams, embracing independence, owning my shit, and reunions with people like Patrick? It’s gonna be a great year.

Here’s the part where you tell me: What are your plans this new year?

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