However lonely or sad one may be, one can exist alone.
R. D. Laing
I and some other people I know, some of them perhaps reading this bit of writing right now, live alone. Aloneness and loneliness are not the same thing. But when you are in a place where there is no one else around certain things like loneliness can seem like a suffocating shroud around your life. It is difficult and takes courage to face the darker side of life when you are alone with it.
In my younger years I must have had a desperate need for company because I would seek out the presence of others and try to insert myself into a group that sometimes didn't particularly welcome me. I know I often made myself obnoxious and I regret that.
I spent my life in a collaborative art form. It is true that when I went to my permanent or temporary home I was usually alone. But when the morning came I was thrust into a group of people, most of them pleasant people, who were all busy doing something that was related to what everyone else was doing. Not like an office with everyone tucked into cubicles, but right out there where everyone else could see what was going on. There was almost no possibility of aloneness and so no need to feel lonely.
It's a great feeling to be part of an energetic group who are all focused on a certain objective and are working toward it with mutual dependence and respect. Yes, sometimes there are prima donnas around who think everyone should defer to them, but I think those people are by nature alone and lonely.
So now I'm retired because I have to be and I live alone. I have no family that will call and visit and I have no friends that I can pop in on. No pets to amuse me. Illness keeps me from trekking out into the world looking for adventure. I have my books and my music, a few pieces of furniture and a quiet house.
So what do I do when the sorrow strikes? I'll tell you a few things I don't do. I don't compare myself with other people. And I don't compare myself with other times. "Cheer up, it could be worse!" It's been worse. "Cheer up, things will get better!" They've been better. I don't accept the dark shroud of unhappiness as my own and wear it with self indulgence. I used to do that. No more. If I have moments of tears or rage I know it's the shuffling off of the misery that's trying to claim me as its own. Then I can find the light and live in it. My life is not perfect. It's not easy and it's not sweet. But it's my life. Every morning when I wake up I continue living it. It takes me quite a while to get up to speed, but after a little reading, a little fussing with the papers on my desk and something to eat I'm ready to face whatever the day's duties and surprises are, be they nice or nasty. By the time the late afternoon and evening come, I'm writing, I'm painting, I'm thinking, I'm planning.
A few days ago I wrote a niche blog (I'm told that's the proper term) called Let Me Shake My Hand about getting to know myself and learning what a great guy I am. So why should I live in doom when I have the right to shake it off and get on with life?
It's not easy. Nobody who has a brain ever said that life was easy. But it's crucial, possible and admirable, even if you have to go it alone as I do.
DB - The Vagabond
(This is not a contest.)
In your opinion what is the most amazing thing that could happen during this decade? Make it as outrageous as you want but keep it within the realm of what you consider a possibility.
10 responses so far.
Answers will be published the first day of Summer.
DB - The Vagabond