A couple of weeks back, I was messaging a friend, and one thing that came up in the conversation was this feeling of aloneness. I know it’s not really anything new, this observation of how we are more “connected” than ever, and know more people than ever, but can also feel more alone than we ever did; but I just wanted to elaborate on my view of it because these thoughts have been drifting in and out of my consciousness ever since that conversation.
For me, this feeling of aloneness is different from loneliness. For me, it is largely related to an acute awareness that everyone I know has “other friends” who they’ve known for a longer time, and are probably closer to, and would hence prefer the company of.
It is true of myself that I also have “other friends” – a number of different circles of different friends – but even this understanding, or the understanding that others feel this same aloneness, does little to ward off the feeling, or to alleviate it once it’s taken hold.
And this feeling doesn’t manifest in a consistent way either. It doesn’t always appear whenever I’m alone at home, or have a quiet week-end of not many plans (or no social plans, at least) because sometimes I really just need time alone to do my own thing, or just to think and ponder. I can spend entire days by myself, and not feel “alone”.
But this feeling of aloneness is still unavoidable and unpredictable. It’s not always damaging or detrimental, but rarely is it productive or conducive to anything worthwhile. And it’s probably not always reasonable, but it’s probably not always unfounded either.
Isn’t it funny how the mind can build traps and cages for itself and, in doing so, ensnares the body too?
Sometimes I think it is because we are all so “connected” now that this awareness of everyone’s “other friends” and the associated insecurities have all been amplified. But maybe this is just a phase: maybe these insecurities surface because we’re trying to find our place in the world, and, in doing so, we try to find our place in the worlds of others.