It’s been a while…
I felt so lonely last Sunday. I’d hoped to catch up with a friend but it didn’t eventuate. My husband and my sister were both at work and I was alone.
I get a bit anxious when I’m alone and don’t want to be, but there isn’t anyone available to spend time with. I’m so used to being with my husband and having him around so I can make strange noises and have them acknowledged, or read something interesting and share it, to mostly sit in silence while we do our own thing but just to have the company.
I’m OK being alone, when I choose to be. But when I don’t want to be, and I have no comfortable option of company, I don’t like it. It plants seeds of negativity into my thoughts and because I have too much time to spend nurturing these thoughts, they grow into ugly, nastiness.
I spent a large portion of time alone when I lived in Australia, before I went travelling and I struggled with it so much. The reason I’d moved there in the first place was because I felt lonely in NZ. Everyone I knew was doing their own thing, whether they were wrapped up in work or relationships or new circles of friends, I didn’t factor into anyone’s life, in a major way, which left me feeling lonely. I wanted to be thought of on a regular basis without having to put myself right in front of someone and be like “hey! I’m here! pay attention to me!”. That, to me, is a touch needy and I’m of the thinking that if someone wants to spend time with you, they will get in touch and arrange it.
So, I moved to Australia as a friend of mine said she had experienced similar feelings of loneliness and it’d be great to have me there so we could be un-lonely together. Two weeks before I arrived, she started a new relationship. As much as I wanted her to be happy and to be able to get on with her new love without a sad friend hanging about, it just didn’t work out that way. They did their best to include me and invite me to do things, which I went along with in the beginning, but as time went by, I just felt like a third wheel and craved her by herself but didn’t want to offend her by saying so. I still felt very lonely and did my best to make friends where I worked. I clicked with a couple of people but the friendships either moved away or had other things going on that I didn’t feel I could include myself in.
I spent a lot of time at home, watching movies, TV series and contemplating why I felt so lonely. I was also saving to travel, so as much as I’d like to think that it was convenient for me to stay at home and do nothing, it was not really what I wanted to be doing. I wanted to be included, invited, thought of. But I wasn’t. And it made me think that maybe it was my fault that I wasn’t being thought of. It must be something I was doing that made people not want to spend time with me.
I became needy in the fact that I wanted to be included. Not the most attractive trait, I was aware of that, but I just wanted to be included!
I left Australia to go travelling and before I left I knew I needed to make as much effort as possible to avoid these feelings of loneliness while I was travelling. I put myself out there, I talked to people, I instigated activities and invited everyone along and people loved it. I felt liked and included and generally really good. I was good at the travelling thing. I still got lonely, mostly when travelling between countries. I’d be listening to music on my iPod that reminded me of people and I’d shed a tired tear or two in memory of the good times with friends. Nearing each new destination I’d hear other passengers cellphones ring or beep because there was a loved one waiting for them and wanted to check how far away they were – this made me especially sad because I knew I was arriving to no one. I was completely on my own. But I’d chosen this so I had to deal with it. And I did. It was OK because I knew I’d reach a hostel where I’d meet a bunch of other people who wanted to make new friends and were all on the same page.
Canada was my least lonely time as I felt I was surrounded with great people. I lived with an amazing flat mate who was a mutual friend of a friend that I didn’t know very well before we lived together. but I found such a good friend in her. She thought of me when we weren’t together, she took me into consideration based on being around me a lot and knowing when I wasn’t feeling great, or appreciating the little things I would do for her because I genuinely love doing things for other people. This, coupled with the jobs I had and the love that I had found in Scott made me forget about the loneliness I’d felt in the past and it was, by far, one of the happiest times in my life.
But then the flatmate moved to England and I wasn’t working with the same people – instead I was working mostly on my own in a physio clinic with older women who worked hard and left me to my own devices. My job was very unfulfilling but necessary and I had far too much time to think about all the things I could’ve been doing. Again, due to not knowing what the outcome of an immigration application was going to be, I had to stay put. I still had Scott and a couple of connections, friend wise, but felt like I didn’t have a good buddy outside of my relationship.
Some people get into relationships and that person becomes the be all and end all of their lives. And they have great couple friends to hang out with and, from the outside, it looks like they have it all. And I know people who feel like they do have it all, and that’s great! But my work (because I’m not in my chosen field yet, due to the whole “trying to get back to Canada to start my life” thing) and my husband are not the be all and end all of my life. Work is just work. It fulfills a certain need to feel helpful and like I’m making a difference and also an income, but it stops there. Scott, who I love to pieces and is one of the best things to have happened to me is wonderful and supportive and accommodating and patient and kind but before him all I had were my friends. And I had amazing times with these friends, separately and together. And perhaps I live in the past a little bit and want to re-create these good times, but is that so bad? Is it so bad to desire regular contact with the people I love without me being the one who has to make the effort all the time?
I am known for being very good at keeping in touch among my friends because I like to know what people are doing. I am generally interested in what others are up to and I make an effort to find out.
I struggle to find things to do by myself because nothing seems to satisfy. Sure, I could go for a walk or read a book or whatever, and I do those things and I enjoy them from time to time, but during and after I’ve done those things, all I really want is a little decent company. And not so we can go on elaborate, expensive adventures together, just someone to hang out with. Another body in the room who knows me well and who I know well, someone I can be comfortable to do nothing with and is happy to be doing the same.
I often feel as if my need to know what others are doing is because I have no life of my own. But I am for the people – that is what I want, what I crave. While my work is not my life and my husband is not my life (don’t get me wrong, I do love him VERY much and he fulfills a massive part of the loneliness irks, but I am not the kind of girl who was ever going to be obsessed with her partner enough to forget about everything she had before he came along), I want to be around the people I love. But when it occurs to me, in my darker hours, that I am the one making about 90% of the effort, it makes me sad.
I don’t like to be sad but I also don’t like to be taken for granted.
Unsure what this post achieves but getting it out makes me feel better and hopefully, by just putting it out there, maybe someone else who feels the same will be comforted by the fact they are not alone in their loneliness.
I know life is good. It could be a lot worse, but sometimes it is harder to look on the bright side. Perhaps I even look to the wrong friends for the comfort I need. I have a bevvy of very good friends and the ones that make the effort are the ones I appreciate the most. To those good friends: I thank you and I think of you often and fondly 🙂