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Lonely or Alone?



A discussion with a couple of close friends brought on this very heavy and detailed inner monologue. While I have been comfortable by myself, there was always this question, am I alone or lonely? Now this might seem like the same thing, but they are very different in theory. When someone is yearning for company but is forced to be alone, that person is lonely. All that are lonely are alone, but all those that are alone are not always lonely. 

Alternatively, sometimes loneliness originates from within and that can happen even when surrounded by people. Hence the turmoil and the loaded question. Since I can remember I have been very picky about my friends, and even more so with my closed off inner circle. I do have friends outside of this circle who I am probably close too but these are the people who I have no expectations from. Crude as it sounds, I am of the 'once burnt twice shy' category. 

Now coming down to the inner discussion, I choose it, I choose to be alone every time. I'd rather go for dinners and movies by myself; I'd rather have a long coffee session with a book than with people; I'd rather be at home switching nonsense TV channels than be at a party. Unwinding for me is a necessity, every day and sometimes more than twice a day. Socializing is draining to me, and that somehow makes me feel like I am alone, and I've picked it for myself. 

Here's the thing though, I, for years on end, have been THAT girl. That girl who always made sure she was around for everyones special days, that girl who always replied to messages, who was always available for any sort of plans, that girl who was always there for everyone's  birthday with cake at 12am, THAT girl. This wasn't a conscious effort, not something I actually had to put my energy into, it came to me naturally. I was the perpetual agony aunt, the shoulder to cry on, the available girl - social and loving it. 

I didn't see anything wrong with this, I loved it, I had friends, I had plans, I had things to do. In everyone's life came a time when you sit and you introspect, that time for me came when I was going through a dark phase. Just like my super awesome professor Dumbledore said (and I am paraphrasing) in that darkness I turned on a light. I felt loneliness for the first time in my life, my friends were still there, my plans were still happening but for the first time I asked myself if I wanted to. I had forgotten to ask myself if the "plans" were what I wanted, I forgot to see if anyone turned up at 12am on my birthday - the answer? Obvious. 

I missed a lot of things that I wanted because my friends didn't want to. I met my friends when they had the time for me, and again I am not blaming them because I made them believe that I was always available and okay with whatever was planned. Where am I going with this? Loneliness taught me that I was already alone and if I put in a little more effort I could make this work for me. Today, I am still the one who is the eternal agony aunt, lending moral support, a shoulder or a calm ear, but do I want anything in return? Nope. 

In that, I found myself, the me I am today, happily. Loneliness gave me the power to be alone and be okay with it. But the question still remains, and I ask this to all you smart people out there, are we alone or do we choose to be alone because we don't trust that the people we have around us won't make us feel lonely? And if we don't trust the people around us to take our loneliness away then why, in the first place, do we have them around? 

And finally, if we truly like being alone, have we conquered loneliness? The eternal discussion continues....

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