Wednesday, November 18, 2009

There’s something more than just knowing better

I feel kind of guilty that everyone things i have a great optimistic streak. They didn’t see me yesterday when I was seriously considering packing up and running away to Sweden. Or Finland (good music there). This trip, particularly the last week has been the hardest one I’ve done.

That said, I let myself wallow in misery and then sat up and gave myself a good talking to and I’m feeling tons better and ready to finish up and go home in 9 days time!

Anyway… when I mention that I live completely alone for big chunks of the year people almost ALWAYS ask me if I get lonely. And I always say no. I’m too busy to be lonely. And usually after a week or two I really don’t feel lonely at all. I mean I miss the people I care about and I treasure their messages and updates, but they send fewer and fewer messages and I send fewer and fewer replies.

Thinking about it, I realised that what people don’t realise is that there are two kinds of loneliness.

1: ‘I want people around me’ loneliness

This is what most people see as the definition of lonely. It’s where you want people to do things with and spend time with you. This one hits when i see something interesting and there’s nobody there to tell about it. I’m lucky in that I’m pretty well connected out here and there’s usually someone back home within an sms or a phone call or even a Facebook message’s reach (Facebook is a topic of its own. I hate it but I’m totally addicted…)

2: Cosmic-lonely type loneliness

This is the one that more people battle with, although they usually get confused and compensate by surrounding themselves with people. Cosmic-lonely is that feeling of not fitting anywhere. it’s where you are all alone no matter how many people are there, almost like you’re in a glass bubble and nobody experiences the world the way you do. I think this is why the Truman Show had the effect it did – people feel disconnected, like everything is some weird illusion that might melt away and reveal that… I don’t know, the Matrix is real?

This one is best dealt with on a nice warm evening (there’s been a mega cold front and I’m yearning for warmth so much right now) sitting in the bush, and thinking about why you feel this way. If you can’t make yourself feel better by surrounding yourself with people, you make a lot of progress in picking apart why you feel so alone.

The solution, as far as I can see, is in self-discovery, thinking about who you are and what is acceptable and unacceptable, generally getting to know yourself – not the person the world sees but the person you are under all that (harder than it sounds as the two are usually totally meshed together and interwoven). Once that happens and you start to feel comfortable in your own skin then the cosmic-lonely doesn’t hit as often, or as hard.

The other night I had a moment of cosmic-lonely when I realised that a friendship I treasured had come to a natural end. As CG and I always say it’s a moment of “We’re lonely souls doomed to walk the earth alone for all eternity. Or 80-odd years. whichever comes first.”

And I sent a message to a friend to say that I’d had a realisation, and that it made me so so lonely. Then I had a cup of tea and it was all ok again.

which was the truth. I had to sit and calm down and give myself the required mental kick in the pants and then I was more resolved and more comfortable with life than I had been.

Of course he confused lonely-type 1 and type 2 and worried about me.

So the answer?

Yes, I do get lonely, but I think it’s a good thing. Because if you don’t feel lonely very often then you’re probably buried things that need to be sorted out.

Go find a nice rock and have a cup of tea. Trust me it’s worth it!


Becca Christensen said...

Everyone has what I call 'debbie downer days' BUT I do think you have a great attitude about life! So kudos for that.

Your job different. I'm intrigued. Thanks for keeping me up to date on your blog.

po said...

I so understand what you are saying. I am a loner so I don't often get type one loneliness, but it does happen that after a while you just want to offload all the stuff on your mind on someone or just be around someone. I don't get that so often but it happens. But it is probably as a result of experiencing type 2, because those thoughts you have when you are alone can be pretty deep and unnerving, and drive you to want to escape yourself for a while.

Kath Lockett said...

You are very wise you know. I alternate between being fully social and then seeking solace. I think that's why being a work-from-home writer suits me, because I can 'retreat' when I need to.

As for loneliness, blogging helps too, regardless of what anti-technology flat-earthers think. I've had some wonderful advice, encouragement and feedback from people who've taken the trouble to write a comment or two.

Tamara said...

Great post, Helen. I do think that moments of cosmic-loneliness also help us to appreciate times when we really connect with special people as opposed to just socially interacting with those around us. Or something.

Helen said...

Becca: Thanks! i enjy your views on things too!

Po: I get what you're saying! I think surrounding yourself with people is only a short-term strategy, but sometimes it's really a good thing too!

Kath: thanks :) blogging definitely helps, it feels almost like chatting to friends sometimes! weird to thin how many really special people out there I've never actually met!

Tamara: thanks! 'Or something' is a good way to put it!