It’s been a long time. I apologize for the blog sabbatical. I kept thinking – I can’t go longer than two weeks without posting! And then two weeks passed the next day.
When we really don’t have something to say, I wonder if we need to make excuses for ourselves not writing. Things take time to process, be them great or small. Writing can help that process, but sometimes living is the better answer. And now that I have something to say, it works out well for me to post.
Have you ever been lonely? It’s a kind of uncomfortable question. Hearing it. Answering it. Privately I think everyone would say he or she has been lonely at one point. But would you admit it publicly THE EXACT MOMENT you were feeling lonely?
I think loneliness is one of society’s hidden taboos. We simply aren’t allowed to be lonely. There are people all around us! There is so much to feel energized by! It’s so easy to connect! The lonely are losers. Boring. Doing something wrong. They’re the ones who choke on their self-made dinner alone at home on a Friday night and are found by police Monday morning after law enforcement has kicked their doors in because the individual’s workplace alerted the authorities that “Tom” hadn’t made it in. And while his co-workers didn’t know much about “Tom,” they did know he never missed a day! I was on a police ride-along once and this exact scenario came up. The idea that this man died alone in his bedroom only to be found days later on the ground of his bedroom floor, purple and cold, was more frightening than his actual death.
At some point along our human-improvement way, as ranchers became bankers and we started lugging our cage-free eggs from Whole Foods and not picking them up from our backyard, we seemed to decide that being lonely was simply not an option. And yet I think most of us feel lonelier than ever. We’re often Bowling Alone.
Well, I’m lonely. I’m 31. I live in Los Angeles. I’m single. I have a few close friends; many of them do not live here. I work with seven men. I make efforts to connect with others, but meaningful connections aren’t made overnight. But the most important epiphany I’ve had is that feeling lonely doesn’t mean I’m doing anything wrong. It means I’m human. Loneliness can serve as a signal that we have areas in our lives we need to work on and opportunities to grow. And if you let the loneliness exist, acknowledge it and push your body deeper into the abyss of emotional discomfort (I like to think of it as a couch – just learn to sit with and in it), there is magic in that gap between loneliness and connection. Being lonely is what teaches us how to be alone, and the two are not the same thing. If you allow yourself to see it, there is tremendous power in loneliness.