November 3, 2011

Reflections on Loneliness

I spent the last weekend in Albuquerque visiting my friends, The Bacas. Last year we did a winter 5K walk and for this year we opted to do the Pumpkin Chase 5K. As I moved through the course on a beautiful brisk Sunday morning I had a lot of time to reflect.

During this race we did not all stay together. Paul-Baptiste is a more proficient runner than I. For me the race tends to be a jog, run, walk combination. Eveliina and their daughter Chickabiddy were happy to walk at a nice clip (Eveliina is due with their second baby soon). 

I began the race running with PB, then walked with the girls awhile, and then found my own stride. During that time I thought I would feel lonely. I didn't. I was merely alone. What was great is that we each got to do the race in a way that was satisfying while still sharing  the experience and the day.

On my trip home I thought a lot about the difference between being lonely and being alone. Generally I don't mind being alone. I am fairly busy so downtime is essential. However, there are times when you want to share experiences with people. It's easy to get down on yourself and feel lonely.

What's even easier is to convince yourself that if nobody is calling to hang out, that they don't want to spend time with you. Oh the lies we tell ourselves! For the last six months I've tested out the theory...when I feel lonely or feel the blues coming on I reach out. I've been asking my friends to brunch, to go for walks, to hit up a yoga class. Crazy thing is, they usually say yes. Often times, they were feeling a bit isolated and lonely too.

Sometimes friends are tied up, sometimes you're tied up. However reaching out and being persistent can keep the empowered, independent "alone" from turning into the "lonely". Give it a try. Make some plans. Be the one to reach out. You probably won't be the only one to benefit.

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