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  • Jennie Antolak

One is NOT the Loneliest Number

“As for now I’m gonna hear the saddest songs and sit alone and wonder.” -Dashboard Confessional

Three Dog Night expressed in two simple lyrics what we innately know to be true about our complex lives. "One is the loneliest number that you'll ever do. Two can be as bad as one. It's the loneliest number since the number one." These two lines often become our background music as we try to make decisions in life that could potentially disrupt current relationships. We hum the lyrics subliminally coaxing ourselves into staying in situations too long when we consciously know our time expired long ago. We do so because of our fear of how others might react to our actions.


For some of us committed to taking action, we become seekers of ways to release ourselves from this elevator music. We find stories, movies, musicals, anything to drown out the tune playing on repeat in our heads hoping it will whisk us away to a land that instead tends to our hearts. For me, my mood defines my method for tuning out helping me focus on what currently needs attending to. The beginning of Rania Naim's poem, You're Allowed, caught my attention recently as I was struggling to make a decision.


You're allowed to leave any story you don't find yourself in. You're allowed to leave any story you don't love yourself in.

 You're allowed to leave a city that has dimmed your light instead of making you shine brighter.  You're allowed to pack all your bags and start over somewhere else, and you're allowed to redefine the meaning of your life.

You're allowed to quit the job you hate even if the world tells you not to, and you're allowed to search for something that makes you look forward to tomorrow and to the rest of your life.

You're allowed to leave someone you love if they're treating you poorly, you're allowed to put yourself first if you're settling. You're allowed to walk away when you've tried over and over again, but nothing has changed. You're allowed to let toxic friends go, you're allowed to surround yourself with love, and people who encourage and nurture you. You're allowed to pick the kind of energy you need in your life.

You're allowed to forgive yourself for your biggest and smallest mistakes, and you're allowed to be kind to yourself.


You're allowed to look in the mirror and actually like the person you see.


You're allowed to set yourself free from your own expectations.


The poem is a powerful reminder that we are all at choice while also providing a promise of a better future if we choose to leave. Unfortunately, as we begin to imagine life beyond our current circumstances, our subconscious has the nerve to turn up the volume of our background music. The harmony cleverly drifts us back to the prospect of becoming lonelier if we abandon our current post. Once again, we hear the words, "One is the loneliest number that you'll ever do." Note by note it sways with us in the hopes that it can comfort us within the confines of the known. Fortunately, some of us are wise to its ways and tired of this overplayed worn-out tune and so we finally say, "Screw It, change the station, and hire a coach." 



We are proud partners with Minneapolis Community & Technical College. If you work for an organization that offers tuition reimbursement this is your opportunity to tap into this available and complete your coaching certification. Classes are offered every month. Register online to get started today. For questions about registration, classes and more please contact Jennie Antolak, MA, MCC.


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