So many people seem to consider themselves lonely that it’s probably alright.
Talk to enough people and I wouldn’t be surprised if you found that a large number of them, at one point or another, start to lament their loneliness. They’ll decry their lack of social lives and apparently empty, meaningless existence. Even I occasionally glance back to my youth (at the age of 24 I suppose that’s a somewhat melodramatic start to a sentence), and think of all the friends I had and wonder what the hell happened to them? It would be satisfying to think that their sudden exit from my life was due to some dramatic world shaking event, like an intense and bloody war with invading, otherworldly creatures. ‘Remember Barry?’ I might ask, ‘what a great guy he was… shame he was decapitated by a Minotaur.’
Obviously, that’s silly; I would never befriend someone called Barry. Anyone called Barry tends to be really miserable, probably because their parents didn’t care about them enough to give them a decent name.
In reality, as I contemplate the complexities of life – usually on the toilet – Barry (the hypothetical Barry) is probably doing the same thing. He too, will be about to heat his beans for another bleak and isolated dinner. Then he might turn on the television to watch one of those popular sit-coms that, failing spectacularly to represent reality, shows a group of lovable idiots being sociable, and doing fun things and getting into a number of hilarious situations with their many friends. Countless people are doing this all over the country, all over the world even.
Or, if not doing this, their glassy eyes will be transfixed upon a screen, their faces bathed in their unnatural glows, as they scroll down page after endless page of Facebook, Twitter, or something else… something altogether more narcissistic and self-indulgent, like a blog or something. Because we live in a strange world, where we are all more interested (obsessed even) with other peoples’ lives. The lives of other people are infinitely more interesting than ours, even though, not to labour the point too much, everyone else is pretty much doing the same thing.
Even those who happen to be in one of those awfully insipid romantic relationship things are no doubt stuck within that inch or so beneath their skulls, which they cannot truly share with anyone else, try as they might. They probably sit there, wondering what happened. Why are they so dull? Why are they so lonely? I think I can safely say, without any doubt, that anyone in a relationship lies awake at night, looking at their sleeping partner, their chests rising and falling rhythmically and think ‘Why, why must it be like this?’ And when they wake in the morning their first thoughts will no doubt be ‘oh god! It’s happening again, why didn’t I just die in my sleep?’
I’m sure the above is true. If anyone argues with me, they’re obviously some sort of drugged up hippy. These are the thoughts that we have. This is adult life. It is completely incompatible with a social life. We have jobs and things, we have to get do the things to get paid, those really important things that if we didn’t spend 8 hours a day doing, the world would fall apart and we’d all fly into the sun (which wouldn’t bode well for me as I’m very fair skinned). By the time rent and bills have been paid and all that food that the government tells us we need to eat has been bought, we have no money to do anything on the weekend, other than sit on our lonesome wondering why we are so lazy.
I don’t quite know what my point is supposed to be here. I’ve had a bottle of wine. The issue is, we often live by the phrases, ‘you only live once’ and ‘life’s too short,’ two phrases that when combined put an awful lot of pressure on the individual to cram as much excitement into one day as possible. Problem is, excitement can be exhausting, difficult to work 40 hours a week and have fun and maintain friendships. Yet, we convince ourselves that everyone is living the high life, that everyone other than us is out every night rubbing shoulders with the cultural elite, or snorting exciting substances off the backs of beautiful courtesans. We feel, that if we don’t do something with our lives, that we’ll miss out, that we’ll fail life. Truth is, most of us don’t really know what we want to be doing. When pressed, we’ll probably panic and say sky-diving, but that will no doubt lose its appeal after a while.
I think the crux of my slightly disjointed, ill thought out rambling is that, on the rare occasion you do leave your house. On the odd night where you venture forth into the brightly lit outside world with other human beings, appreciate it. Enjoy it, really try your hardest to enjoy it. Immerse yourself in every moment, no matter how mundane. Really concentrate on the conversations you have, take in every detail and treasure it. Because you never know when Barry could meet his demise. Don’t do what we tend to do. Don’t spend the night desperately seeking out intercourse, because you’ll most likely go home alone and disappointed, or with someone, which just prolongs the moment you feel disappointed. We’re too obsessed with sex these days, we think sex gives us purpose. If we’re having sex we’re doing life right. It speaks of a certain level of shared insecurity, but that’s a ramble for another evening. Enjoy your rare moments of ‘unloneliness’ and remember, that when you are at home, feeling sorry for yourself and decrying your loneliness, remember that everyone else is just as lonely, so it’s probably alright.