I’ve claimed before, perhaps I’ve even said so with degrees of bravado, that I do not get lonely. I still will say that is true- somewhat, although over the last several weeks, one of which I WAS home, it seems that there could be different and varying degrees of loneliness, which may or may not occur or be felt all at once.
If this be the case, the question becomes twofold:
- What does this mean for me- as a person?
- Is this a good, or a bad thing that is occurring?
Earlier tonight, I had already taken an hour or so nap, had my supper … and just felt the need to take a walk. Never mind the fact that the shithole apartment I am in is in THE “Tenderloin District” of San Francisco. I took a walk anyway, at 11 pm. At that hour, there is not necessarily a lot of goodwill being spread around on the streets- and as a matter of fact, if you were to disease and drug test that nocturnal population, there might be a direct opposite of goodwill, and trust me- it’s being spread, in more ways than one.
Possibly because I’ve gotten older, and also that it’s been 15-20 years since I was a bachelor, I’ve forgotten the many vices that float around in the air near midnight; even more, I’ve absolutely forgotten how easily they float around. In the present, from my 5th floor room, I have heard consistent yelling and fighting, sirens, screams… running feet down the hallway- and this is normal in this place. Yet, in here, despite the audio theatre, I feel safe.
On the streets, and mind you I looked respectable, nicely dressed and all- I was offered for sale anything, everything, and any-one… Cocaine, Crystal Meth, Take-Your-Pick-Of-Whatever-Gendered-Hooker, and some ridiculously low-priced weed… $20 per ounce! That is how much it was 25 years ago in High School. I passed them all up, and continued onward, Diet Pepsi in hand. My only vice in this world is Diet Pepsi, and even though the Genius’ at Pepsi Central took out Aspartame, I still like it, and abuse the hell out of it.
Anyhow, what does this have to do with being lonely? It’s an easy answer~ If I wasn’t lonely, I would have simply went to bed, and not ventured out into the streets for a walk.
I went for a walk because, quite frankly, I had gotten to the point where-even though I have plenty of work to be done right here, at my desktop, I had to get the heck out of this 800 square foot, 1 room tenement. There is no Air Conditioning, which annoys me not so much because of the temperature- it is cool at night in Frisco- but I like the sound of it- the air conditioner, it keeps me company, and helps me to sleep. Without it, there is nothing. Silence.
So, I took a walk and while I was walking, and stepping over and around people and piles of their excrement, I came to the only logical conclusion- that this was a picture of loneliness. I suddenly felt like Buck Owens, wandering the streets of Bakersfield… Hank Sr., heading down the lost highway… It’s a damn good thing that I DON’T drink, drug, or have so many of those other vices, or I could easily of been lured away from my straight and narrow pathway- if only for the promise of conversation during the deal making. But- alas, I walked in silence.
I then- returned to silence, sans the drama going on 5 floors below on those city sidewalks. In that silence, I found some degree of comfort, albeit a small, but hopeful amount.
Even though I am lonely at this particular time- I am comfortable enough with “me” that I am not forced outside of my comfort zone, and into a rat race of foul behaviours and debauchery- in the futile effort to combat the feelings of loneliness. Plus, and to buttress that assertion, I am- and plan to stay- happily married! None of the above being sold on the sidewalks at night are (at least in my mind), allowable in an honest and loving marriage, or any relationship for that matter. So, once again- I might be lonely, as a person, but I am not so bad off that my personality and personal traits, which affect other people than only myself, are to be compromised because of it.
Steinbeck once wrote that quite possibly a married man will be the loneliest man of all- even if others around him are without contact for longer periods of time. I would suppose that this plays into my analysis of not really missing something, unless you have something to miss…
If one were to think on this, this walk in the shadows, without joining the shadows, is a testament of what we have striven to become. For years, we work to develop relationships, finances, a stability and some semblance of a home life… and if it were not for a solid constitution, which all of those bring, and help to sustain, we might falter easily, thereby forsaking all that we have worked for.
So, I now am faced with a question. Is loneliness healthy? Well, is it?
If you view it in the terms I have just set forth, it is absolutely healthy, in that it acts as a barometer, a test if you will, to hold dear to what we already have- even if what we have is far away, and at the moment, in one or more ways, lacking in some manner.
If this is the case, the test of loneliness is now a Resounding Triumph and has formed itself into yet another foundational element of the things that I hold dearest. It has re-enforced my resolve. In this, I do not pretend that I will always be materially successful; but instead that I will be spiritually and mentally successful. That I have automatically, and without thinking, followed the adage of “do the right thing, even if no one is watching”.
My friends, WE are the ones watching. To keep pure our spiritual and mental faculties… , and to do so in spite of all other definitions for our condition which may be found in the dictionary; is there really any greater triumph?
Answer for yourself, but be honest… You’re the only one who will know the truth, but my, oh my, how important the truth is when viewed on such a personal and undeniable level.
I’ll answer for myself. The accomplishment of purpose and victory is without compare. What has transpired is a wonderfully fulfilling aspect of the otherwise empty sounding descriptive of “loneliness”.
In order to be lonely, you must first understand the closeness of the human condition and place great value upon your relationship with others. … I’d say that’s a pretty nice way to live a life.