Loneliness has never been a feeling I have known well. I am part of a large family, always had roommates, am part of a team at work. I’ve always been involved in groups, am thinking about joining some NYC intramural team, and am the master of group projects at school.
Don’t get the wrong impression – I’m not an extrovert entirely. I’m an introvert with extroverted tendencies. I do enjoy my solitude…long runs in the park, walking home from work, watching the tv shows I want to watch. I’ve been known to wear my earphones and not even turn on my Ipod, simply as a way to avoid casual conversation on subways. But now, I’m surrounded by privacy. Not peace, just quiet.
I like sitting next to someone on the couch, even if the only sound is the typing of our keyboards. I like hearing the keys in the door, or seeing another’s name next to mine on the mailbox. I like the presence of a loved one. And I’m not talking about spending the afternoon with friends or going out at night. I’m doing plenty of that – if you’re lucky, those activities serve as distractions from it. But this is loneliness in your heart that you can’t escape…it’s with you, a part of you. For a shared life is better than a lone one.
In Eat, Pray, Love, Elizabeth Gilbert wrote: “When I get lonely these days, I think: So BE lonely, Liz. Learn your way around loneliness. Make a map of it. Sit with it, for once in your life. Welcome to the human experience. But never again use another person’s body or emotions as a scratching post for your own unfulfilled yearnings.”
We all know that women are right-brained, and thus, more emotional than men. As women, we have a tendency to see our lives through an emotional filter, rather than a left-brained, rational one. We are driven by our feelings, which leads us to be less objective and see life in a more detached way. At this point in my life, I would give anything to have a Y-chromosome. I imagine life would be less overwhelming in painful times like this because emotions would not be constantly clouding my perspective. Maybe I would have been less likely to put my heart into the hands of someone else, with so much passion and faith. Maybe, if I were left-brained, I would see this part of my life as just that – a part of my life, a chapter, a heading.
As Andy Rooney just said on 60 Minutes, “Our lives go by too fast and we are so eager to move time along.” An obvious statement, Andy, but we have to admit that we are always gearing up for the next big thing. I know this feeling very much…All I can think about is the future, and how I get out of this damned present, a time that I will look back on and remember sadness and disappointment that I couldn’t shake. But maybe, one day, I will also see it as the time in my life where I became who I was meant to be, and began to revel in my own company and independence…someone who’s heart isn’t afraid and doesn’t take a single beat for granted.