Loneliness hurts

I think there are few human beings who relish being alone all the time. Most of us like to have close connections with others. We fill this need in many, many ways. Yet, circumstances often seem to force us into a corner and we find ourselves ALONE more than we would like.

WARNING! Don’t read the next paragraph unless you are into reality shows. It’s just filler to show you how I spend my day mostly alone.

I could say I am in that situation right now. I spend a good part of each day alone. My typical schedule is getting up between 6:30 – 7:30 (Hey, is this like tweeting or something? Or putting my life story on facebook?). I usually manage to sneak in a good-morning kiss to my wife who is up and out the door by 7:00; then I am alone. I spend the early part of the day (often from waking up through noon or one o’clock) on the computer working on my writings. [And BTW I probably spend less than 5 minutes waking up, doing the morning ritual, which includes brushing and flossing my teeth, dressing, etc. (are people really interested in this stuff?)] I say hi to the Black-haired Beauty, who is usually lying in my path to the computer, and I get to work. [Now, all of this can vary considerably depending on the day, my mood, etc. The gist is, I am alone, except for that Black-haired Beauty, who does bug me if I go get something to eat.] The rest of the day I spend: working in yard, on projects, exercising (riding my bike, gym, etc.), walking that Black-haired Beauty, going to store, etc.

Basically I am alone until my wife comes home. Well, that is unless I do something about it.

Sometimes, maybe even often, I like to be alone… but not that much!

How can we deal with being/feeling alone? How do we connect with people when it isn’t so easy anymore? Or is aloneness just a universal thing we have to put up with, especially the older we get? I sometimes wonder if reality shows, etc., are just other ways we deal with our aloneness (soap operas an earlier “fantasy” version of the same thing?).

Is all of this new media, public media, adding to our real aloneness? We connect digitally, but at what cost? Isn’t there something quasi-depressing about two couples sitting in a restaurant and all four are working or paying attention to their super-phones and not to each other?

Yes, I do connect through media, too., e.g. this blog. The point is we shouldn’t just connect this way!

One thing I do is try to take advantage of all those often innocuous meetings with people when I am out an about: people I pass, see, manage a smile or kind word to, who love to pet that Black-haired Beauty (one of our neighbors who loved Arwen just moved, so that makes the two of us more lonely). serve you at a store, etc. It can help brighten my day to share a smile, or a laugh, or a kind word; I hope it helps brighten someone else’s as well.

Don’t we all yearn for even more connection at times? Friends we can banter with; a group we interact with (golf anyone? bridge club, etc), connections that go a bit deeper? There is an amazing array of things/opportunities available; however, sometimes those ‘circumstances’ do get in the way. Just keep as many avenues open that you can.

I said this in a recent blog: reach out. Reach out with the only expectation being that you wish to connect with others. Don’t layer your effort with qualifications: that person sitting next to you on the plane, or standing in line behind you at the supermarket may just be “the most interesting person in the world”. Or if not that, they do have their own story, they care, they feel, they like to feel connected too. Maybe it is only a passing moment; but it is always an opportunity that the world has presented to us. It is your choice to make something of it or not. [Just writing this blog has given me more inspiration to make even more of an effort. I like communicating/sharing with people.]

Here’s a little true story: My wife and I recently ran into a celebrity in a airport lounge. Since we had just watched a series on DVD with this celebrity in it; my wife went up to just say hello and tell her that we enjoyed the series. The celebrity was pretty “stand-off-ish”. I thought to myself: be gracious, be kind, enjoy the fact that people recognize you. Maybe I’m way off base here, and I’m certainly not (currently) a celebrity, but I think I would want to enjoy those kinds of connections with people, as brief as they might be.

Loneliness can be hard. It can be hard especially if for some reason you find yourself there and you feel trapped by circumstances. Take advantage of the opportunities that present themselves. Who knows? Maybe you’ll make some new friends in the bargain. Or maybe you’ll just brighten your day and someone else’s too. Reach out just a bit farther. And when you do, listen to the other person’s story too. They may be just as lonely as you.

Thanks to my readers — you help me be less lonely too.

Best,

Joe Koob

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