Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Loneliness....it happens to the best of us

Melancholy of a Beautiful Day, Georgio de Chirico
Lately, I've been grappling with loneliness a bit more than usual. I think Valentine's Day triggered it, as well as my cousin/roomate starting to date someone for the first time in years, which has lead to me sitting around on the couch by myself a bit more than usual.   I've tried to combat my feelings of loneliness by going out a bit more - going to coffeeshops or fun new restaurants after work to have a drink and skim a book while trying to look somewhat open to conversation....but it hasn't really worked too well for me. Half the time, I walk into a trendy new spot where I planned to get a glass of red wine before heading to my empty home and the sheer number of people and excruciating volume makes me turn around and leave immediately. Oh no...I'm getting....old......

The truth is, when I'm feeling lonely, I don't usually want to be around 100+ strangers. What I want is to be around a special someone. And even my attempts to get myself out of the house just further remind myself of my loneliness. Yesterday, I walked to the beach near my house to watch the sunset, which was gorgeous, but I couldn't help but notice that I was surrounded by couples. Luckily, I was able to walk down about a half mile to a deserted area where I could just soak up God's daily lightshow and regroup a bit.

I don't want this post to sound horribly negative. I'm not depressed...I'm just having a rough spot. I know everyone gets lonely - even people who are in relationships. I've heard some married folk say that the type of loneliness you experience when married is far more devastating than being lonely when you are single, because of the built up expectations for a partner to fulfill your need for companionship.  An old pastor of mine used to tell me that the root of almost every problem that was presented to him in counseling was a deep loneliness.

So, what to do? Well, some days I let myself wallow. Why not? I think we need to get it out of our systems sometimes. Have a big old pity party (like I did on Valentine's day when I gorged myself on Taco Bell). Then, in the days after, I have felt lonely, but I also realized I didn't like that side of me. Seeing my entitled attitude and self-pitying in full force was off-putting.  Yesterday, after my sunset walk, I came home and made the decision to thoroughly distract myself in a productive manner. I started painting at 6, and by 10 it was like the time had flown by. I was all by myself, but my brain was engaged, I was being creative, and I felt a lot better about myself.   I still feel a bit lonely today, but I've moved past the time when I'm allowing myself to wallow, and I'm into recovery mode. And, for now,  it feels good.

1 comment:

  1. I agree that the answer to loneliness is not mindless busy-ness or putting ourselves in groups of strangers. The desire of our hearts is for intimate (not just in a sexual context), close relationships. That's what God created us for. But these take time to develop and there's no quick-fix answer. We have to accept that there just will be times of loneliness.
    I read something yesterday that helped me -

    The broad path is heavily traveled, but if you choose the narrow path there may be times when you won’t see anyone else but Jesus. (Matthew 7:13-14) –Joyce..


    As being healthy, single adults, trying to follow God's unique plan for our lives, we are on an unpopular path. We could get the first guy who comes along to marry us as easily as anyone else, but choose not to compromise just for the sake of being married. So there will be times when it's painful and lonely and there isn't anyone around to comfort us. Please know that I understand this too, if that helps you.
    I spent several years being lonely in my marriage and that was pretty awful, but I'd have to say you really can't compare the two. They're completely different types of loneliness.
    I'll stop writing now before this turns into a whole blog post of my own!
    BTW - this post was beautifully written. I enjoy reading your writing.