Loneliness is a strange duality depending on, as all other things and perceptions in this life do, where we are as a person on our journey. From a deep yearning to be accepted when we’re young to the wisdom of getting older and realizing “alone” is a far more nuanced thing with layers of griefs and benefits.
Loneliness is something so deeply personal that it’s almost shameful to admit it, but in those recesses of your heart you reserve only for yourself, and for which you can’t even begin to find words to explain, you know that in connection you prefer quality over quantity. Alone and lonely are not the same thing. Alone is just the absence of others and does not imply loneliness, while loneliness is an absence of connection to another even if they are in close proximity. You could be sitting across each other worlds apart and never really know each other after decades. On his deathbed, the German writer Goethe said: “No one understands anyone else”. This might seem bleak, sad or defeating at first but it is just as truths are – simply there and neutral. None of us fear death. We fear not leaving anything behind, not being remembered and not being deeply known by another. Complete and utter emotional and mental congruence and familiarity is not necessary for love, as there will always be one part of the person you cannot grasp and there are no ways to convey it. We all have parts of ourselves that are so shameful, unusual and shocking that they are no topic for polite society but, if we do manage to muddle through and explain, a new bond is formed in this recognition and acceptance of the strangeness of another brings you a bit closer to an impossible task. It’s like an asymptote moving closer and closer to the line into infinity and never really touching it. You will never know someone 100%, and you will never be 100% known (assuming you’re completely you all the time, which is almost impossible as well due to the demands of schematized social situations we regularly find ourselves in). This is ok, as you’re probably o(l)d(d) enough to have noticed some delicate nuances and almost comfortably melancholic shades of loneliness.
Some part of you will most surely always be beyond words and inexpressible in its entirety to another human. The more refined and complex we become, the larger this inexplicable space inside. And it’s a suffering, but also a weird kind of joy as the realization of loneliness seeks understanding and allows us to enjoy so many non-verbal things and understand people and their choices, enjoy art, literature, poetry. It is why it is possible to find a soulmate in brushstrokes or words on a page or in street art graffiti. People who could understand the exact flavour and every increment of that thing you have inside may be a world away or you may be divided by centuries or language barriers. This little thread of loneliness we keep for ourselves is a sort of a clean sacred ground which allows for the highest creativity, the one where your hands are guided unstained by the social, but speaking to everyone else in their loneliness. There is a peace and maturity when in wanting to devour another and be devoured, we find calm in the half prickly half soft feeling of not being able to. Companionship is beautiful. It takes care of the more pragmatic sides of being a deeply social being. Companionship with understanding of the infinite complexity of an ever changing individual is better.
Give more time to people with whom you can just be, who communicate as openly as they can but don’t demand you to constantly explain your every move or have the need to constantly explain all of theirs, who don’t abuse your time because they cannot be alone, who will let you read, work or create in silence without needing incessant attention, who will love you for all they can and can’t know or understand about you. Be the same person back, realising the limited, limitless and beautiful condition of being human, being with others and being lonely.
*** brought to you by the current pre-vacation mind set and excitement about being in comfortable company and alone with the sea. See you with the new ”Meditations on being human, life, love, lessons and all in between” (and a sun tan) in a couple weeks dear friends.