Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Loneliness or Solitude

Alone, lonely, solitary, solo, abandoned, individual, forsaken.  There are sundry words to describe it, to use for it, but they all mean something slightly different.  Which one am I?  It varies from day to day, I think.  Some days I am solitary, but not lonely.  Some days I am lonely.  Somedays, today, I feel a bit abandoned.  Forsaken.

12 years ago I was happily alone.  I was not completely solitary, I had roommates, friends, etc.  But I was ok alone.  I was happy alone.  I was GOOD at alone.  It was my life and I could live it the way I wanted to.

Fast forward to now.  I don't know how to be alone anymore.  11 years with a companion can do that to you.  You get used to their presence.  Heck, one year with a companion can do that to you, especially if that companion shares your heart.  You start to rely on them, not for anything specific, but for the fact that they are there.  Someone to talk to, someone who cares what went on in your day, someone to tell about your obnoxious visit to the dentist or the crazy actor you had to fit that day.  Someone you want to hear.  For their voice as much as anything they might say.  Someone with whom you fit.  Easy, comfortable, comforting.

And then?  It goes away.  The bond is broken or the person leaves.  And you are left with...what?  Loneliness.  It isn't the same as solitude.  I like solitude.  I don't like loneliness.

“How we need another soul to cling to.”
Sylvia Plath

Language... has created the word "loneliness" to express the pain of being alone.  And it has created the word "solitude" to express the glory of being alone.  ~Paul Johannes Tillich, The Eternal Now
Loneliness can be conquered only by those who can bear solitude.  ~Paul Tillich

1 comment:

Adam said...

Beautifully put, old friend. Thank you.