I’m into talking about my feelings and junk, but I’m not sure anyone is interested in reading about the last time that I was lonely. It feels too personal. I actually cherish my alone time. Sure I’m a social person, in fact I receive a great amount of joy communing with my fellow man, but that can be tiring. Sometimes I just want to be where no one else is and just be silent. I need to be alone with my thoughts so I can hear them and even say them out loud like a crazy person.
But now the question I must ask, and when you read this in your head, please imagine Lawrence Fishburne narrating, is: “What is Loneliness? How do you define loneliness?” If loneliness is simply a feeling of isolation, then I think many of us would have a hard time actually saying that we have experienced true loneliness. The only people I can imagine that would actually know what that feels like are folks that live in a forest in the mountains by themselves and the dudes that flew the command modules while their counterparts were goofing off on the moon. Although, I read recently that Michael Collins of Apollo 11 actually did not feel lonely while orbiting the moon by himself. In fact, he felt proud to be a part of what was happening. But these people are isolated because they are “off the grid”. They don’t have contact with the outside world, especially on the back side of the moon, and that is something that many of us are unfamiliar with. If there is any time that we experience isolation, unless we too are on the far side of the moon, all we have to do is call someone. Or if you’re me, wait for someone to tweet something. Also there is the option of engaging in a mindless activity such as a video game or a movie so that the brain is able to shut off the part that is aware you are alone. Our world provides countless distractions for our minds so we don’t have to be in the moment with our feelings if we don’t want to. Plus social media and cell phones have significantly reduced the size of the world to make anyone available at any time if you have the right number. You aren’t going to be lonely if you don’t want to be. Personally, that’s not ok for me, but to each his own.
Loneliness though is likely more complicated than just feeling like you’re by yourself. Most people probably experience this type of feeling after some kind of tragedy or big change. The feeling is that you are the only one experiencing what you’re experiencing, and no one understands what you are going through. In my humble opinion, there are two ways to deal with that:
1) Embrace that feeling. Take pride in the fact that you are traversing a frontier so foreign and frightening that to successfully emerge on the other side will be a triumph not just for you but for mankind. The strength you must possess to travel unknown territory without any sort of direction or semblance of a plan is terrifying, but you should face all those feelings head-on and know that it is life that you are living, my friend. No one chooses this path, but once you have started, there is no way out but through it. But at the other side there is light, a light that you will have forgotten the beauty of and it will be the most spectacular light you have ever seen. We all cannot wait to hear about it.
2) Don’t believe any of the feelings. You aren’t special. Even if you feel cold and alone and there is no one that could possibly understand the struggle you are facing, there is someone somewhere who does. Because once upon a time there was a man that went through the exact same trauma you did. It doesn’t matter if that time was yesterday or a hundred years ago, there was a person just like you doing exactly what you are doing. That is why you must reach out to those around you because we’re either going through it or gonna go through it and no one wants to feel like no one cares. If you’re a decent human being, you care, because you know you’re not special.
But what do I know? I’m just sharing my opinion that I probably borrowed from someone else smarter than me. I like to think of myself as an enlightened man, but the true sign of wisdom is the acknowledgment that you could in fact be full of crap. However, if that’s the case, I’m like the wisest dude on the planet. Take that, Dalai Lama.
In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Cut Off.”