Lonely vs. Alone

Lately I’ve been feeling very alone. Not lonely, which is a different thing. I think loneliness comes from a lack of an intellectual or spiritual or emotional connection to another person, especially if that person is physically near. Some of my most lonely times have been in intimate relationships with men who seemed farther away than distant galaxies. I’ve never felt that kind of loneliness by myself. To tell the truth, I actually enjoy my own company. I can see the movies I want to see and eat the food I like best. I can go to bed when I’m sleepy and read as late into the night as I want to. That’s the good part.

But when there’s an important decision to be made, two heads are better than one, and then I am acutely aware of being alone. Should I buy a new car? Spend money on major home improvements? Have the oak tree trimmed? Fire the yard man? I want somebody else to help me make those decisions. Even if I ask other people their opinions, they don’t live with me and they won’t be affected by the outcome of whatever I decide the way a spouse or partner would be.

And when it comes to making decisions that have a major impact on my health or my career or my future, I really need another person to discuss and debate the best thing to do. I had to make that kind of decision recently, and I would never have survived the trauma of it without the support of good friends. No matter how much I rationalized or equivocated or cowered, they looked me straight in the eye and said, “You’re being a coward. You know what you have to do, so just do it!” They were right, and now that it’s over, I’m more grateful to them than I can ever say.

I started off saying I was acutely aware of being alone, but as I write this I realize I’ve missed the point. I’m NOT alone and never have been. I’ve had some relationships with men who betrayed and strayed and lied and connived, but through them all, my friends have remained loyal and honest and connected. How could I think I was alone?


One thought on “Lonely vs. Alone

  1. Words of wisdom — thanks! I am reminded of a cartoon in _New Woman_ long ago, woman on phone saying, “No, I’m staying home alone tonight, and in good company, I might add.” It would be lovely to have a partner in life, but steering solo and meeting up with good friends is wonderful, too.

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