I’ve long had the feeling that one of the major taboos of society is the condition of being alone. By whatever means we may find ourselves without a partner in life or discover that we hold a minority viewpoint of living or somehow don’t quite fit in with other people, we keep quiet about existing alone.
Many years ago, I came out of the closet as somebody who lives alone. Not only did I live alone, I worked at my job, alone. The people I know, often expressed their alarm and sympathy about my circumstances. They found it difficult to understand how I could put up with such a state of affairs.
I enjoy being alone. I enjoy the alone times, a lot. Long ago, I found out and accepted that being alone has many advantages and is quite conducive to joy and happiness.
I’m certainly not a hermit, nor am I anti-social. I love and treasure the people I know and meet in this life. People bring me a great deal of gladness and satisfaction. They also, inadvertantly bring some hard life lessons and irritation. But, overall, I really like the folks in my life. I like them even more when they respect my alone times.
Working alone, in my case, was a true dichotomy. The building was completely empty, except for me. It might have been a cold, windy night. I could look out the window to see snow drifting on the street. Then the song on the air would come to its fade-out. It was time to open the mic channel for my back-announce of the tune. There might be a short quip of some sort, mention of the stormy night, then I’d start the next song while mentioning the station’s call-letters before the singer began her song. It was a situation that greatly amused me. Working and feeling alone, but talking to thousands of people at the same time.
I can think of other people who are alone, either by choice or by involuntary isolation. Some are happy, others are completely miserable. I’m compatico with both the happy ones and the sad ones.
For whatever reason, my childhood peers and I didn’t mesh well. It’s not that I desired isolation. I often tried to encourage acquaintance and friendship. Those with whom I befriended, often became estranged because their families packed up and moved away. While I wasn’t a member of the outcaste, I was certainly not a part of the popular clique. I belonged to the much unesteemed hippie crowd.
I grew into an awareness of aloneness as a positive quality. The loneliness of teenaged angst was ripening into something rich and precious, instead. I no longer wanted to associate with the popular kids. The appreciation of aloneness was growing stronger. Letting go of the desire to hang out with a crowd allowed other kids to gravitate towards me. It was nice to have a best friend, even if it was only for a year or two. Those pals were of similar temperment to me. We were chums, but we gave each other lots of space.
Being alone in different environments fascinates me to no end. I can visit New York, London or Mumbai and feel an unsettling twinge of loneliness while still marvelling in the sea of people around me. I can take a walk in the Nebraska countryside, or stand alone in the Painted Desert and feel completely fulfilled and complete. I can spend the night with my lover, or days on end alone, working on projects. Either way, I’m quite joyful.
Most people don’t understand my headspace. I’ve come to accept that the lack of understanding is something I can’t change. The appreciation of aloneness is a state of mind that other people may learn to fully appreciate or they may not.
I hope, for their sakes, they do.
The Blue Jay of Happiness enjoys observing the frantic pace of people going about the business of living and trying to fit in.