Being Alone is Not Being Lonely

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All men’s miseries derive from not being able to sit in a quiet room alone.

Blaise Pascal

It’s a busy busy world out there. People are hustling and bustling everywhere to get to somewhere. The incessant traffic noise, the wailing horns and the shrieking mobile phones, the pitter patter of ten thousand feet grinding the sidewalks. Time is never enough and chores are never ending. People, in every sphere of life cannot be avoided. The world does contain 6 billion specimens of the human race. Every waking moment, we flit even for a few fleeting seconds, through a person’s life whom perhaps we will never meet again.

Networking is the new mantra that marketing and executive gurus swear by. We are drowning in social media posts. The people on our Facebook feed have unknowingly hijacked our life and twitter has the world limiting their expression to 140 characters. We think of life in terms of ‘Instagram’ moments and ‘Pinterest’ hobbies. Everybody is so LinkedIn, that it’s hard to unravel the tangle of interlocking lives. We are so entwined in this giant network and have become so immobile, that we are slowly dying on the inside. Our spirits are shrieking to have a moment of quiet, to not have to give each and every second of itself to another, depleting it bit by bit, to leave an empty husk on the outside no better than a highly functional mechanized humanoid.

We dedicate so much of our time for others that we forget to take some time for ourselves. The people in this rat race have confused the word ‘alone’ with the term ‘lonely’ making loners out of people who simply want sometime to themselves. You choose to be alone, rejoice in it, revel in the silence around you and seek refuge and shelter from the droning of the world outside. Loneliness moreover, is something that is in the mind of an individual. Being lonely is having no companionship, being deluded with thoughts of being unwanted and unloved, to see even a room full of people as empty. Loneliness to hear your shallow breathing and wishing it were not your fate. It is hoping for something better to happen to you than the place that you are in.

People might opt to be alone for various reasons. It might be to take a break from the usual routine and pamper one’s self, to have a ‘me’ day. It is a privilege of a few and a luxury not many can afford. The luxury of not seeing anyone, hear the opinions of another being bombarded on you or following orders around. To be alone is to hear what your heart truly wants to do, be it watching a funny movie or reading a classic from cover to cover. People do not languish in their aloneness, but replenish the exhausted stock of Will. To be alone is to sever ties from the rest of the world in order to connect with your own self.

Loneliness is like a dark cloud hovering over head, thundering melancholy thoughts in your head, making you believe that there is not even your own shadow for company. Loneliness is when you are bursting with thoughts and ideas which are uncontainable but find that there is no one to share it with. It is a shout in the void, the reply being a stoic silence so loud that you want to bend over with its intensity. Loneliness is black. It has no eyes, no ears. It is devoid of sensation to the feeling of numbness. It arises quietly, like a light fog, spreading ever so slightly and creeping over you. Suddenly, it will be upon you, and come down like a crashing wave of misery. All that was past, expectations unfulfilled, goals unattained, dreams shattered and love lost will all appear as ghostly apparitions in the murky waters of loneliness, drowning you in their weight, sweetly seducing you towards it.

Alone and Loneliness are essentially two sides of the same coin. They are the yin and yang, the scales of balance, the two ends of a pendulum. We tend to sway and turn one way or another. Sometimes the aloneness that we celebrate culminates in loneliness, and sometimes through the path of being lonely we rediscover what it means to be alone. It takes a fine act of balance to understand the difference between them as in their carnal state, both can be equally overwhelming. The sheen of being alone can quickly fade into the gloom of loneliness for the unsuspecting mind. One needs to be wary of over indulgence when savouring time alone.

To be alone implies a state of contentment, where as being alone is the reflection of something undone. You can be happy as a fool when alone, but sadness will break you when lonely. The greatest difference between alone and lonely is that while the former is an act of intention, the latter is an offspring of emptiness.

A person who is alone might never be lonely, but the one who perceives himself as lonely, will necessarily find that he is alone.

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