Tell me friends, what does it mean for you to be alone? If you woke up one morning, and only the sound of summer birds greeted you? Would you feel fear? Relief? Are you bemused or simply…accepting?
In other words, with no one else around, are you alone, or lonely?
I like to be alone. Sometimes I rise early to do my yoga and think, before my husband wakes and the pressures of the day descend. If other people are around, I find myself jittery, unfocussed, listening with one ear to the conversation in the next room, anticipating interuption.
However, after several hours of solitude, I crave interaction. I wander forth, looking for someone to converse with. I want to share my thoughts, the accomplishments of my solitude. Perhaps I crave the attention–I am a performer, you know; I have to do my yoga without an audience, or I come from the wrong place to achieve balance.
There are times when I am lonely, but usually not when I am alone. It comes (for me, at least) from feeling misunderstood and left out.
Perhaps loneliness doesn’t come from lack of company and dialogue. Loneliness is not Dickensian–it’s Wildeish, Austenian–loneliness is only possible when there are people present that you cannot connect with. It prevents the social animal in us all from feeling safe– if I’m not surrounded by friends, I must be inundated with enemies!
Loneliness is the most terrible poverty. But solitude; the freedom to think, to be, to experience–what riches!
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