Disclaimer: In the following pages I have used the female pronoun, whenever there is a need.
For ease of construction.
No gender discrimination intended. Replace every "she" and "her" with "he" and "him" and the article remains the same.
Furthermore in one of the conversations with a friend of mine (happens to be a she, by the way) she mentioned “We do not have time to realize that we are lonely, and when we do, it is so late, that we get used to it” – I started to wonder why would one reach such a stage or say such a thing and what follows is a result of that thinking process.
“If you are lonely when you are alone, you are in bad company” said Jean-Paul Sartre.
On the face of it, it looks like a clever play of words. But Sartre is not the one to play around with words without imparting a serious message.
This one is no exception.
The term lonely implies that you are missing a good company. Thus the word, in its definition, explains the basic problem. We seek that “good company” from without and not from within. Why do we put the essence of our happiness in someone else’s hands?
The problem stems from the society that we live in. Too much of how our lives are conducted is dictated by societal norms. Without any strong reasoning.
A husband needs a wife.
A child needs a sibling.
A family needs a small group to which they feel they belong to in order to ensure that they are not left alone. You move to a different town, the first thing you do is search for someone with whom you can relate with; based on region, likes, religion, profession, hobbies etc.
One grows up under these “conditional happiness” as a norm.
A festival is complete ONLY when you have visitors.
A birthday is a party ONLY when you have guests/relatives crowding your home or the chosen venue and you end up spending longer hours cleaning up.
Any significant event of your life is incomplete if it is NOT celebrated in the presence of scores of outsiders.
One is conditioned from the earliest memory to put one’s happiness in the hands of others.
If a child is seen playing all by herself, the first reaction she elicits is sympathy.
“Poor child – playing all alone; apparently no friends”
When a person seeks solitude as solace to enjoy moments with only herself, the society sees her as an outcast.
And to ensure that she does not get to enjoy her moments of peace she is branded as arrogant, an epithet no parent would tolerate.
The parents would rather have her miserable than be called arrogant when she actually is at peace with herself.
If you are all by yourself, you do not have to bother about
- What you say
- How you say it
- Whether it is misinterpreted
- Whether it is mis-reproduced, out of context
- Explaining what you meant
- Explaining what you did not mean
I often go to the mountains. There are many good reasons why I do that.
One – I stay reasonably fit
Two – the trek, the scenery, the clean air are all invigorating
Three – the beer at the end of the climb is really awesome
Four – the most important is I do not have to do any bullshit
I talk to no one. I offend no one. I take help from no one.
I do pass by people. It does not matter to them , nor to me, whether I acknowledge their presence or not. I am not branded as arrogant if I complete a trip without acknowledging a presence of even one of them.
Even if I am branded as such, I do not know. And hence it does not affect me.
I am the happiest and most at peace with myself when I am on the mountains.
Or when I go cycling.
Or when I am running.
Or when I am reading a book.
Or when I am writing something.
Do you see a pattern?
I am at peace with myself when I am alone.
Does not mean I do not like company of other humans or canines.
I do enjoy the few moments when I need to interact with people other than I. On most of the occasions these interactions do leave me as happy as I could be when I am alone. That is because I choose my company wisely.
Over the years I had undergone a metamorphosis.
From being too concerned about the emotions and needs of the others I had reached a stage of self-centered life. Nowadays I only do what makes me happy.
I do not hurt anyone. I do not offend anyone. When I do not like the company of some I simply remove them from my life and I continue and I find life is much simpler.
If someone feels that my ignoring them is a great insult and that I am unsocial and arrogant, I do not make any efforts to clarify such impressions.
Usually such sentiments are whispered behind my back and never in person.
From an attention seeking child, always insecure, always wanting to please others, always paying attention to what everyone told that I should be doing, and carrying out the same without any imperfections, and left wondering why life is looking incomplete and empty, I reached a stage where the only person I care for is me.
I talk to me, and I listen to myself.
And overnight my conversations have become simpler and meaningful and full of purpose.
The disagreements are easier to resolve.
There is no pride to swallow.
No shame to hide.
No discomfort to squirm out of.
Of late the only time I feel lonely is when I am surrounded by people.
I long to return to my company.
Good bye then.
I am waiting for me!