It’s sad to be solo sometimes, sure. But I love solitude too. It’s one of my contradictions. New York is like that too. Life in NYC offers an easy, freedom. Anonymity. But this can also lead to a longing. It’s a resonant loneliness, even in a crowd. Especially among masses, in fact. In some ways I was a born New Yorker. Overly independent since childhood, mine’s been a solo road. Luckily, I know how to make it fulfilling too. Hope is the heart of love. Nothing eases loneliness like a loving connection. So, how and where to find it? Let me show you the way, baby.
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Fight Loneliness – an Epidemic
If I’d been born in the South, I’d write a country song Born Broken Hearted. But I was born in a tiny Maine town. Cold weather. Distant people. So, I became a writer and runner. Both are lonely efforts that fight distance and cold. Still, to do them well, is to do them alone. I started writing and running daily at nine years old. I’ve got 40 years of practice by myself.
Tips to Stay Happy Alone
What’s the trick to it? There’s not one particular way to fight the loneliness epidemic. But I have found tricks that work for me. A key – I make sure when I’m alone I spend doing what makes me happy. That means self awareness. I check in with myself. Do I still love writing? Is this practice serving me? I make adjustments based on gut response. That might mean a big change or a tiny shift.
For example, I write for a variety of clients. If one of them irritates me, I ask myself – are they worth it? Are they paying me enough to outweigh the annoyance? This gives me a sense of agency. I do the same thing with the writing I do for pleasure. Is it serving me? If not, I withdraw and find a new project that’s more fun. I can always return later and finish when it better fits my mood and manner.
These questions apply to anything. Not just work matters. Hobbies can be fun and fulfilling. Practices too. It can’t all be forms of work. Also, I make sure to have hobbies I can do anywhere. That means if I go on vacation I can keep it going. I can write everywhere. I can run everywhere. Sometimes I see a subway rider sketching in a little notebook. Ever spot an actor practicing their lines in a public park? The world is your playground. Play your way.
Find Fun Companions & Fight the Loneliness Epidemic
It’s an understatement that I love dogs. If my daughter weren’t allergic, I’d have a pack of ’em. But before she came along, I had beloved Frank. My dachshund taught me unconditional love. Sure that’s kinda sad… to learn such a fundamental from a tiny furry one. But some people never learn. Looking around these days, I’m one of the lucky ones. We all gotta find out own way to fight the loneliness epidemic. It’s a war of today we must wage.
Best tip to combat the loneliness epidemic: find a friend you feel that way about. Get a buddy you love no matter what. Ideally, they feel the same way for you. Dogs are perfect for this. Special people are too. You know the type; kind, thoughtful, and rare.
This dog pictured above is my neighbor’s pup, Ruby. I take care of her when my neighbor is away. It’s one of my great joys. When I enter her apartment Ruby scampers couch to floor to chair to ottoman. Her kinetic love makes me smile. It moves me more than any three words can. She loves me with her whole body – unabashed. We go for long walks. Ruby listens without judgement. She loves without expectation. I’m not lonely with her.
So, it’s a tip to fight the loneliness epidemic. Find a convenient connection. It appears in unlikely places – a neighbor’s dog or a friendly coworker to share coffee breaks. Solace is all around us if we give it a chance.
Get Outside ASAP – Fight the Loneliness Epidemic
Maybe you’re not in the mood for buddy time… That’s OK.
So, when the loneliness epidemic hits me – I do something. Go for a walk. Visit my dog buddy, Ruby. Start a new book. Finish an abandoned one. Dance to a song I’ve never heard before on Apple Music Radio. Of course, other times I call a friend. But my point is other things do the trick too. I’m not always in the mood to call a buddy. It doesn’t mean I can’t kick out the lonely.