I wanted to write today about the concept of loneliness and how it takes its effects on both a personal and societal level. I have often thought that I’ve never really taken the time out to reflect on what it all really means to me; I mean I’ve had people consistently tell me that’s what I am/will be, if I limit myself to a life on my own. I’ve had people tell me how I feel, or should feel but the more I pondered on it, the more I realised that I’d never actually come to a definitive point on how I envisioned loneliness and whether that was the direction I was going in.
I had an experience/a flirtation/a dalliance or whatever one would call it not so long ago where I understood that I was making an attempt at appeasing something within me that I couldn’t quite pinpoint. I consider myself a rational human being who on most occasions painstakingly weighs up all options and their future validity prior to taking the next step. However, I found myself willingly doing the opposite of this for reasons unbeknown to me. Was that a result of the loneliness that everyone had warned me about? Or perhaps it was the opposite..
The truth is I’ve always been an introverted person. Being an only child whose parents were out working for most of my childhood meant that I spent most school holidays at home, alone for up to 10 hours each day. I’ve grown used to being by myself for the entirety of my life and never thought much of it. So why is it, that now all of a sudden I find myself making what seems to be irresponsible decisions in order to plug a hole that would appear to be non-existent in the first place. Have I subconsciously given in to the rhetoric of that ‘lonely ageing lady’ that trolls the corridors of life searching for her next hit of comfort & intimacy?! If so, how and when did this happen??!
All of this got me thinking about the ‘societal standards’ that are set for someone my age, or let’s be more honest here, a woman of my age. In essence there seems to be a weight of expectation of, if not having a man permanently around, needing to be on a consistent search for attainment of a temporary stand in. What seems even more mortifying to me after I ended this ‘something with someone’ was that my most immediate afterthought was… ok who’s next…?! I had to fight the feeling to search for my next impermanent someone in order to portray to society that I was ‘okay’; that I’m not too picky, that I am on my way to meeting society’s standards and that I am at least attempting to re-route my path away from this said ‘loneliness’.
If I have learnt anything from all of this, it’s that I’ve allowed someone else’s standards, someone else’s opinions and someone else’s feelings to take over my decision-making capacity and dictate to me what ‘acceptable’ behaviour should be. The truth is, we are all lonely but what I have figured out for myself is that I’d rather be lonely on my own and yet still continue to search for the right path/person in my life, than appease that ill placed feeling by finding comfort in someone else’s version of their own loneliness. So yes, sometimes I do feel the emotion, but I’ve learnt to be okay with this and deal with it on my own because to be honest, there are simply some voids that can only ever be filled from within oneself.