Just Frances

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Only the lonely

This entry was posted on Sunday, July 10th, 2016 by Frances Ryan.
Tags: widowhood, sad, fear, faith, ego, dating, crazy, confession

When you live your life without a partner, it can be lonely. Even if you fill your days with friends and acquaintance, it can be lonely. Even if you enjoy a bit of solitude and are generally happy with your being, it can be lonely. Even if you are never alone, it can be lonely. It’s a loneliness that seeps into your soul; a loneliness that only the truly lonely can understand. That loneliness lives inside of me; it follows me around even when I’m happy.

And I can’t explain it to other people… unless they actually understand what it is to be lonely. People who don’t understand just share useless quotes and words of “wisdom”.

“If you love yourself, you’ll never be lonely.”

“The time you feel lonely is the time you most need to be by yourself.”

“If you're lonely when you're alone, you're in bad company.”

Or they tell you how much the wish they could spend an entire weekend alone, or go on a week’s holiday alone. They tell you how jealous they are that you get to spend so much time alone. It must be wonderful, they say.

But here’s the thing:

I do love myself. Mostly. I mean, we are all a bit critical of ourselves. And I don’t think I’m more critical than the next person.

I do spend time by myself. A lot of time. In fact, most of my time is spent by myself. With no one to share my hopes and fears with. Just me. Alone. Most of the time.

I am good company for myself! I enjoy my own company. I enjoy the time I get to think and write and read. I enjoy getting to watch whatever I want to watch; eat whatever I want to eat.

And yeah… spending a weekend alone is great. Going on a holiday alone is fun and empowering. But when you chose to do that as a change from spending the weekend with your significant other, it’s a different feeling than wishing you had someone with you, but knowing you don’t. And it’s different when your weekend alone is the exception, not the rule. Because when you spend the absolute vast majority of your time alone, it’s a bit isolating to know that you will be spending another weekend alone; that you will be going on another holiday with no one to share the experience with.

And sure… I spend time with other people. But the time I spend with other people is as the “third wheel”. Or it’s a short period of time when they can “get a break” from their normal life. And, quite often, plans are made softly… and I know that if something better comes along, plans with me will be cancelled. I am not the important one. I am not the priority. I am the one who fills in little bits of someone’s calendar as a respite from their important ones; from their priorities.

Don’t get me wrong: I’m not upset with others for this. I completely understand that life is about priorities and that family and partners need to be those priorities. But knowing and understanding that doesn’t make me less lonely. Because this loneliness lives in my heart and soul.

And it’s not about having friends to hang out with on a Friday night. It’s not about having a busy social calendar filled with days out and adventures with a variety of people. It’s about sharing more than my time with other people. It’s about sharing my hopes and fears with someone. It’s about sharing my laughter and tears with someone. It’s about having someone in my life whom I trust more than anything in the world; someone I can share every secret with, knowing they will be safe and protected. It’s about sharing those things with someone who prioritises me; and me them. It’s that connection that is more than just a friendship. It’s the deep-seeded joy of being a part of someone else. And them sharing with me.

When you live your life without a partner, it can be lonely. Even if you fill your days with friends and acquaintance, it can be lonely. Even if you enjoy a bit of solitude and are generally happy with your being, it can be lonely. Even if you are never alone, it can be lonely. It’s a loneliness that seeps into your soul; a loneliness that only the truly lonely can understand. That loneliness lives inside of me; it follows me around even when I’m happy.

And I can’t explain it to other people… unless they actually understand what it is to be lonely.

So if you find yourself reading this, and not understanding, count yourself lucky. If you find yourself reading this, and thinking that you can’t relate or that I’m being melodramatic, count yourself lucky. Because if you can’t comprehend the loneliness that I’m talking about, you are lucky. (Though I acknowledge you may have other demons to battle; we all do.)

And if you find yourself reading this, and feeling sorry for me, don’t. Whilst I am lonely, deep in my soul, I am also mostly happy most days. I do enjoy my solitude at times; I do enjoy my life most of the time.

Any maybe one day, I will find someone whose love for me (and mine for them) is so great that it conquers the loneliness. And then, I can look forward to planning a weekend away from them, just so that I can enjoy my solitude without loneliness.

(Of course, I haven’t completely discounted that the “love” I’m searching for might be found through a religious calling. Maybe.)

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