I'm slowly beginning to learn the difference between solitude and loneliness. Being an extrovert, a lot of my life has been keyed to other people, and particularly when I was younger, being alone for any length of time was anathema. But I'm learning to appreciate it much more nowadays, with one best friend (my ex-wife) being gone, and another in severely declining health, I don't have much choice in the matter. Now I'm down to myself and one dog (thank goodness for him) and I'm learning that I don't have to have someone else present in order to deeply appreciate something. I don't have to immediately run off at the mouth about something I just read, or a great song or movie. Though there is still pain sometimes, it is not nearly as deep or long-lasting as it once was.
I can be most lonely in a crowd of people. I get stressed in social situations unless there is a reason to be together, like a class or an event or something in common. I don't like gossip or small talk so most of my friends are people that can talk about a variety of subjects at length. I'm most at ease when I'm alone. Although I do like people in general. Just an introvert with some social anxiety.
I was married for 25 years and lived with someone for seven years. I was much lonelier in either of those situations than I am now. Being alone is often equated with being undesirable; in fact, people have asked me why I am not married/in a serious relationship based on my presentable looks and my friendly demeanor. I choose to live alone, and to the many people desperately seeking a partner (any partner), this is unfathomable.
I have been alone almost my entire life. From a rural childhood with no neighbors, and only five sisters to gang up on me, the forest was where I spent my time. During my teens, I couldn't stand most of the in crowds. Except for about one year, my adult life has been spent living alone. It's amusing to observe others who feel the need to be talking about random things that really don't matter, and notice that they are missing out on a lot of other more meaningful things.
I am glad you have adjusted so well. Me I am the opposite in that I have always preferred being alone. When I was younger I was bullied and have never had much of an appreciation of group think. Large crowds especially without purpose scare me. So I find it difficult too play the social game. I have a few really close friends but beyond that outside of work I enjoy my sons but have little other outside interactions. This will be changing (already is) as my boys grow older I want them to have more of a experience through activities and friends then I did. One of my guilty fantasies is a world were the vast majority of humanity goes away and I could wander this world and explore without fear of property owners or law enforcement or gangs etc. Just me, nature and the remains of humanity. A la the Quite Earth or Stephen Kings The Stand. Likely I would die fairly quickly but still it would be fun.
There is a difference between being lonely and being alone. Some people can be alone but not lonely and others can be lonely when surrounded by people. I think it is most healthy to be comfortable with periods of solitude but still take great pleasure in the company of other good people and in good conversation.
Thanks for sharing this. I can relate. After a breakup of 27 year marriage, I found myself isolating from the few friends I did have and sitting in an empty house with music and vodka as my only friend. I did this for about 6 months - and then I decided to move to Florida (from NY) and start all over. I have a brother here - and I lived with his family for 5 months. I then realized I wanted to be alone...just not lonely. I just started a job here last month and moved into a beautiful apartment this weekend!
I have Never felt so lonely as the last decades of my marriage...could not understand why all seemed dismal! On paper, handsome hubby, lovely home, blah blah, blah....but So Cold inside (And not a very nice person, either!)
Now I can say I am actually beloved by a wide circle of friends & acquaintances, feel warm & fuzzy (okay, most of the time!) . I hope never to forget this wonderful time in my life, when i am, supposedly, "alone"!
I can relate although I'm an introvert/extrovert. These days I'm a recluse that does everything I was interested in 18 to 25 or so but I live in a 72 year old body. My daily extrovert activity is 3 hours a day as a delivery driver for an auto parts company M thru F. I miss my ex-wife but I know it is over. We are yet friends. I do many things on computer and converting and storing music is one of them. I view people younger than me as "old." A man I have known many years called me today, then said he would call me again later. He lives close by and is nosy. He wants to know what I am doing and I've told him a thousand times. Damn, he called me again. What I want to do is say to just leave me alone unless it is M thru F. I need to stop answering the phone on weekends.
I consider myself something of an introvert, so I've taken it for granted having alone time, but since I've been limited the last two years or so by finances and health issues I find myself feeling frustrated when opportunities to be out in the world or more social sometimes come up where I'm not able to take part. Somehow it was a lot different when I knew it was always a choice. Another thing I notice is that whether I was with other people or alone, I'd often squander my time and energy on meaningless activities. Thankfully that's changed. Now, whether I'm with someone or alone, I'm appreciating my time so much more. I regret the time I've wasted, but I can't change that. Just grateful I'm making better choices moving forward.
I am very uncomfortable being around most people, & if I find someone I do feel comfortable with, I don't need them around constantly. I'm a loner, & like it that way. My husband is also a loner, & we seldom socialize. We each have our own things to do.
That’s very good to hear. I can only guess at what has happened based on my own experience, and that is you have managed to fill the hole that’s left behind when normal social life has gone or lessened. In my situation, my oddity was the root of my isolation and it is also the cure for my situation. In other words, among other things, I’m a Shakespeare fan. Who wants to talk about Shakespeare? Nobody. But I spend many happy hours working out what his plays are saying and in that way experience more solitude than loneliness. I see you put a lot of time into poetry and I’m sure that’s a big help, both therapeutically and in passing away the hours.
I am an introvert, a loner and prefer to be by myself MOST of the time, so I can not relate to your situation. I have no pets, nor do I want one, and I have been a single man for 50 years, have lived alone for 40 years, have had a fantastic life as a single man and would change very little if I could.
I wish you well in your life's journey and success in finding what you are searching for here and in your life