There is a difference between being lonely and being alone.
Lonely is a sad state where you stare longingly out windows at happy people hanging out together, wondering why you don’t have any connections like that in your own life. You cry over making only half a box of mac & cheese because a whole box is too much for one person. You may be surrounded by people at your job, but feel absolutely no connection to them.
Alone, however, is like the flipside of lonely. Instead of watching (stalking?) happy people, you are thrilled to be able to do whatever you want, wherever you want, for however long you want. You may only make half a box of mac & cheese, but you indulgently use the whole pack of powdered cheese product, because you CAN! (who would do something like that…uh, not me).
To me the different between the two is so obvious, mostly because I just love being alone!
It must have started back in childhood for me. We lived on an acreage and my brother and sister still lived with their mom, so I spent most of my free time playing by myself. When we moved to Edmonton, I had to make new friends and while I found nice people to spend time with, the majority of my free time was actually spent by myself. When reading and writing are your two favourite things to do, it kinds of predetermines that you’ll spend a lot of time alone.
As an adult, I love my commute (which I realize may make me seem crazy). But there’s something about getting in your car, picking whatever music you want to listen to, and having the freedom to drive as fast as you want, or take a shortcut, or just relax and sing loudly along with your music (which given my pitchiness, is probably a good thing to do solo).
Alone for me equals freedom, and independence.
Recently, I was told I couldn’t drive for 6 months, which was pretty hard news to swallow. Because it wasn’t just about not driving, which I also love to do (manual transmissions only – automatics are for suckers!). It was losing that little bit of time to myself. When I arrive home now, G is already home and waiting for me so we can have supper.
I’ve been struggling with this new situation, aka “busing” and “cabbing” and “accepting rides from loved ones” – the loss of my freedom, independence, and alone time. I feel less like an adult and more like a child because of this. And I’m scared of how this will change the way others’ see me.
But as I was moping and feeling sorry for myself, the light finally came back on to help me realize something. There’s always a flipside. As lonely and alone are two sides of the same coin, so is my predicament of never being alone.
I have people in my life who want to be with me all the time.
G not only cooks supper for me, but he’s available to help me with anything that requires a car, and on the odd chance he’s not, I have two parents who are just as willing to help me out. My sister and a few friends have also offered help to me. My brother is storing my car for me in his garage, so it’s protected from the elements while I can’t use it.
I am actually incredibly lucky.
(My blog titles are song titles. This one is “Perfectly Lonely” by John Mayer.)