I feel lucky. I love being a writer and part of why I do is because it allows me to work alone, be alone. It’s not exactly that I don’t like being around other people (I do, kind of). But when I worked in corporate America, I couldn’t get away from people, couldn’t find time for myself. Maybe because I’m an introvert I love spending time alone. I am actually happiest alone and in my head.
But the flip side? Alone can lead to lonely.
It used to be that I’d get my “human fix” by having coffee with a friend once a month. That was when my kids were home and there was the predictability and clamor of the day. Once the kids were at school, I’d come home and walk the dog, then I’d write. I had several business clients who kept me busy. At the other end of the day, the kids would come home and life was a whirl.
Things changed. I live in an empty nest now—my two kids successfully (and happily) launched. There have been other life changes as well. More stressors. My husband was unemployed for a while—which was nice because he was home so I had company, but worrisome in many other ways. When he started working again he was gone all the time. Then one of my closest friendships ended abruptly. I stopped freelance writing to focus on fiction.
Then our dog died. And my world kind of bottomed out. My daily companion, my beloved soul-dog was gone.
And for the first time, I really felt like the lonely writer.
By the time I realized I was in trouble, I would often find myself at tear’s edge. I started writing in a local coffee shop many mornings, found solace (if not conversation) in “the regulars.” But it wasn’t enough. I started craving human conversation. I’m usually a very independent, self-sufficient, bounce-back kind of person, but I didn’t feel very resilient anymore.
Signs you might be lonely
In case you wonder what loneliness looks like, this is what it looked like for me.
You know that overly-chatty mailman you usually run into your house to get away from? You invite him into your mudroom when he delivers a certified letter—then you chat for five minutes. You’re sorry [Read more…]