So when it comes to loneliness, busy-ness, and other people's company:
I have lately begun to observe that many people I know seem to try and fill their boredom with people. They will have nothing to do and be bored and instead of finding an activity or etc, they will find people to hang out with. Usually these people are friends whose company you generally enjoy in the first place, which helps.
But I'm not actually a fan of this approach. I have seen it turn into a group of friends that hangs out all the time but is still bored nearly all the time, and then they become bored with each other. I also don't like it because I think it puts the onus of entertainment on another person, i.e., "I am bored, come entertain me." It also helps foster this idea that if someone IS alone, they must be down for company/hang-outs, because what can you possibly be doing by yourself that's so entertaining? I don't like that either.
I have observed both these things lately because I have started spending a lot of time on my own, actively doing things. When other people foist their company and boredom on me because I foolishly said "oh not much" when they asked me what I was doing, I can become resentful because I had real things that I was doing on my own, but other people simply see "not hanging out with anyone" and assume that means "doing nothing." In reality, for me, it can mean I'm painting, reading, cruising the internet, about to go on a run, have to do some chores, etc, any number of things that either I prefer to do alone (or make me a poor entertainment partner), or that I know I won't get done if someone else shows up and wants to be entertained.
So I have become better about being clear that I am doing something, even if I am at my house alone, and establishing boundaries in that regard. (Because it's not fair to resent people for impinging upon my time and space if I haven't made it clear that it's my dedicated "me time" and "me space.")
I have also observed that while I may be alone a lot, so long as I am actively doing, I am much less likely to actually be lonely, or to feel as if I am lonely.
If I had to make a list of things to stave off loneliness, some of them would be:
- going for a run or walk
- exercising in another way, like push-ups
- indulging myself in my favorite night in (usually chinese take-out, a few beers, and marathoning Netflix, sometimes throwing weed into the mix)
- playing with my cats
Going to bars is hit or miss. Usually that was a good remedy for loneliness as I had a lot of friends at a certain bar and I could count on someone who I actually liked to always be there to talk to. However, once you date someone who works at your favorite bar, a someone who is dramatic and has trouble moving on, you sometimes realize you have to avoid the bar in order to do the best by both of you. So now sometimes I head out and walk down Main St to go to my bar and walk right past it because I realize I don't want to see my ex. That usually makes me feel more lonely, not less.
I think loneliness is probably not dissimilar from a cigarette craving, where if you focus on it, it'll be all you can think about. But if you simply bide your time through it and find other things to get interested in, to make you stop thinking about it, it goes away pretty quickly, or at least lessens.
If you are feeling lonely, do NOT get drunk alone.
If you are feeling both lonely and sad, seek out funny things that will make you feel better. My remedies include:
- watching 1970s SNL
- 30 Rock, Parks & Rec, etc - other light comedic fare
- writing short bad poetry
etc. Sadness I find can get more pervasive than loneliness so it is good to combat directly with humor, imho.
On a side note, a poem of mine which was published earlier this year by Bop Dead City was nominated for a Pushcart last week. I was going to wait til Wednesday to tell Hubski about it, but I had told lil about it and then sent her a copy so she could take a look. It happens to be remarkably relevant to this conversation. I'll copy and paste it here; I've also recorded a version that I will put on Soundcloud within the near future. But not right now.
MY LONELINESS KEEPS ME COMPANY
It is a drunk horse, so I nurse it, to keep it
in good health. It takes dry leaves and sugar-water,
it is delicate, it wants no more. Sometimes it tastes
like the crunch as fall dries in my mouth. Many people
think they like me til they meet me, so I keep my drunk horse
close. Ever-ready. It needs constant conversation or else
feels I've forgot it, slumps its shoulders, sulks.
My loneliness lives among wobbly moons and bent
palm trees. It competes with giraffes. Sometimes I catch it
staggering off on toothpick legs, indignant, feeling
scorned. It doesn’t love me, demands that I love it.
Anyone could drive away my loneliness -
but then I'd only miss it.
( lil )