Monday, September 10, 2012

Alone vs. Lonely

Have I written about this before? I'm sure I have. It's such a pervasive theme in my life. As I age and get oh so much wiser, I try to remind myself of the distinction between being lonely and being alone. In my mind, being lonely is feeling the absence of people, whereas being alone is just being in the absence of people. Being lonely involves feeling left out, being alone involves no relation to others, just to oneself. My brain sometimes fritzes and confuses the two, however.

When I was five years old, my parents both had the stomach flu and were down for the count. I was left to my own devices. I was an imaginative and creative child who did ok playing on my own sometimes, but liked to be around people. My parents' absence was poignantly felt. I am told I went into their room and told them "I feel forgetted." I would say for me loneliness is always an echo of that feeling - feeling forgetted. I HATE feeling forgetting. It makes me desperate and insecure. It brings out my controlling side. It is my greatest adult not worry about "being forgetted" by people. To just be. To not control. To live in the moment.

Sometimes, when I am presented with "alone time" it feels like a wonderful gift. I am a mother of two small children. There is not much I get to do alone...EVER. I relish vacuuming and mowing the lawn for the silence of the white noise it provides. When alone time comes I usually am thrilled to spend it reading, writing, sitting in quiet or catching up on housework without being followed by two tiny homewreckers. It's all good.

On Saturday night, it was not good. I'm not sure why. I think my brain got confused and thought I was being forgetted and not just being gifted some much needed space from the world. Or, perhaps after years of freaking out over being left in the dust, I am just programmed to panic when faced with a Saturday night alone? Saturday night is just such a BIG're supposed to have something BIG to do.

It all started with a tornado warning and some hefty storms rolling in. We live on a mountain and my children are deathly afraid of storms. They asked to go stay off mountain at Grammy and Grampy's house. I obliged, not wanting to listen to constant fretting, weather reports and upset all night. When I found out they would be leaving, I attempted to find something BIG to do. Despite valiant efforts, I could scare up nothing to do. Not a thing. Not a friend. Not a person was around to play.

Although this made me feel incredibly lonely and restless for a while, I then looked inside and tried to see why it was making me feel this way? I decided to sit home alone with the insecurity and loneliness. And do you know what? As soon as I made the choice to sit with the feelings, the loneliness turned from loneliness into a welcome feeling of peaceful aloneness.

Maybe there is one more facet to the difference between feeling lonely and alone....lonely feels out of your control, being alone feels like a choice. A healthy choice. A peaceful choice...even on a Saturday night.

1 comment:

Mr Lonely said...

walking here with a smile. take care.. have a nice day ~ =)

Regards, (A Growing Teenager Diary) ..