I had a glimpse into the future last week and I didn't like it. Didn't like it one little bit.
Tall Daughter went to stay with friends for a week - an unusual occurrence, she doesn't normally stay away from home - and the Teenager was very busy with her new McJob, her boyfriend and her hectic social life.
So, for the past week I've spent quite a lot of time on my own.
I know, the chance to have some me time, right? I can hear all of you parents with toddlers and babies wishing - praying - for some 'me time', so I don't want to sound ungrateful but, well, I had far too much of it.
Yes, too much me time - is there such a thing? I mean, how many candlelit baths can you have before it loses its appeal?
Now before you all drown me out with shouting 'YOU FOOL!' I should perhaps mention that the reason I had too much is because....I was alone. And it's not that unusual anyway, I get plenty of it in a normal week as it is.
Or maybe I should rephrase that and openly admit that I'm lonely. Incredibly so, and I don't see that changing anytime soon unless I do something about it. It's embarrassing to admit it, but there it is.
Don't get me wrong, I can keep myself occupied so that's not the problem and I have a few hobbies - blogging, gardening, reading, walking the dog - but they're all solitary pastimes which means that although I'm kept busy I'm still spending a lot of time on my own, especially if my daughters aren't around. And Tessie doesn't say much, bless her.
And of course my girls are getting older now and they're already spending less and less time with me (as it should be, I don't want them hanging around keeping their old mum company). So that means I'm going to be spending much more time on my own in the future, which is a depressing thought actually. I can see the years stretching ahead full of alone time. Not good. So what's the answer?
Well, I suppose I just need to get out more - simple?
Except it isn't that simple. In order to spend less time on my own I need to have other people to do things with, but it's not easy to do that if you have neglected friendships over the years (which I have) or they've moved to other parts of the country (possibly to get away from me?)
I used to consider my colleagues to be good friends, but there have been so many changes - people leaving, new (much younger) people arriving, new cliques being formed, which has left me feeling like a bit of an outsider.
So where do people go these days to meet new people? And I'm not talking about dating, I'm talking about meeting new people, people who may become friends?
I am making some effort - in January I joined a book club. We meet once a month, which is great, and last week we even ventured out to see a play. (Othello - performed at an open air theatre in Chester, very good it was too.) But I have to say that the book club is a safe option - I already knew most of the people in it, and it hasn't really extended my social circle that much.
But I'm a bit stumped when it comes to meeting other people. Especially when confidence is an issue (or lack of it). What would you do? Where would you go? I'm all ears.