How to Be Alone (& Not Lonely) #31writenow #nablopomo

by P. Braithwaite


Here’s a post I wrote last year but never posted. I think I was a little ashamed and embarrassed about my feelings. Anyway, enjoy…

I am actively in the process of learning how to be alone. I’m experiencing independence, self-sufficiency, and self-love. Some days are easier than other.

On many days, I am lonely. I have not yet fully mastered the difference between loneliness and solitude. I don’t understand the nuances or the comforts that each have to offer.

This loneliness is surprising. In truth — I’ve always thought of myself as a bit of a loner. I disappear into books, I take myself out on dates, I am comfortable being by myself. But, somehow, this new independence feels different.

This new loneliness, the realization that I am “living alone” is disorienting. It is confronting all sorts of triggers and I’m a bit overwhelmed: will I be alone forever? What will happen to me if I slip into a coma? A depression? A 15 lb weight gain? What if I choke on a chez-it and die?

It feels like I’ve ripped the scab from a cut that wasn’t yet healed — a cut I didn’t even know was there.

I live my life truly and authentically committed to personal growth, but I find myself a bit stuck in this moment. I’m longing for connection and support — a longing that is not founded in reality because, in truth, my life is overflowing with people who love me. This loneliness is fallacy, or ( more accurately) has something to do with my own sense of self. I am somewhat afraid of myself. It’s funny how that works — how your mind, your body, and your reality can be out of step.

This is a hard post to write because I suspect some people in my life will be happy that I feel this way, and others won’t understand how living alone can be anything other than awesome. And, in a lot of ways it is awesome: the flip side of being alone is…well…being alone (ie passed out on my couch with a French fry stuck to my face).

I usually try to structure these posts so that there’s some kind of takeaway or lesson. I try to vent, but only in a way that can possibly help the life of the reader.

Not so much today.

I am actively in the process of learning how to be alone. I’m trying to understand the difference b/w loneliness and solitude. I don’t know how to do that…but I know I’ll eventually get there. I think I’m entering a phase of life designed to teach me about nuance which, I suspect, will teach me about finding and maintaining balance.

What are you working on today?