I was skimming through Instagram recently when I spied a quote which stopped me dead in my tracks (an overused phrase, certainly, yet captures my reaction exactly).
We’ll get to the quote in a moment, but first let me back up.
Have I mentioned that lately?
Lonely. Lonely. Lonely.
I’ve got that lonely in a crowd, lonely because I think “Crap, People, does no one get what I’m feeling?!”, lonely because I’m actually alone all encompassing lonely feeling.
And yes, Friends fans, it is indeed like tartlet.
I’ve thought LONELY and said LONELY to myself with such regularity the word has lost all meaning.
- I wake early to work (I’m lonely).
- I volunteer at Child’s school (still feels brand spanking new. I’m lonely.).
- I race home after a.m. drop-off and workworkwork (oh the dichotomy of social media. I’m lonely).
- I walk to pick up Child from school & make stilted small talk with other moms (I’m lonely)
- I supervise homework with Child, launch nighttime routine and care for four-legged companion (I’m lonely).
I’ve had friends (I know—the weirdness of the lonely. I do have friends.) plainly inform me loneliness is a choice.
Comments which led me to Dr. Google where I repeatedly found this turn of phrase:
Loneliness can be defined as a lack of rewarding social interactions.
That’s not me, I’ve thought. It feels bigger than that…like lack of time for rewarding social interactions.
I’ve made the choice to sit with my feelings of lonely and here’s what I’ve learned (stuffs which Dr. Google may disagree with):
- Loneliness is feeling not fact. When I stop myself from ruminating I’m able to step back and remember I do have people I can turn to. Feeling not fact is, indeed, a fab mantra of sorts as well.
- Loneliness may indicate false priorities I shared with a friend the fact I felt unproductive. Upon examining my days I saw I was highly productive just not with stuff which really matters to me. I’ve considered the notion my loneliness is a clear-cut as living the wrong priorities.
- Loneliness feels needy. Admitting to being lonely seems like a pretty easy way to ensure I stay that way. I know it’s not true. I also know we (the royal) like to surround ourselves with positive, upbeat, non-lonelies.
- Loneliness is *not* like boredom. This was a crucial realization for me as I’m willing to sit with any feeling–no matter how hard–if there’s a needed or productive end result. There isn’t here. Loneliness doesn’t give birth to creativity even when embraced and explored.
It was after going through the process above I spied an image and lyric-snippet posted on instagram.
Jenny Lewis’ song lyrics resonated with me that day in a way they’d never before:
Loneliness as habit.
Had I swung so far from glorification of BUSY I’d gone 180 degrees the other diection?
Had I drawn my Sharpie-boundaries too clearly and indelibly?
Quite frankly at this point I don’t yet know.
All I know is this:
We’ve chatted before about shedding good habits.
The loneliness one?
It’s not even good and it’s high time to shed…
- Have you struggled with loneliness? Have you ever discovered it’s become a habit?
Sarah@creatingbettertomorrow saysMarch 23, 2015 at 3:58 am
I just told my husband I think my biggest struggle as a new mom is feeling lonely. Even when I get out I feel lonely…it is a struggle and I hope not a habit I’m feeding…I appreciate the insight into what a mom with an older child feels.
Erica saysMarch 23, 2015 at 4:02 am
I’ve labeled my brand of loneliness existential boredome, and more of a feeling of being disconnected from society.
It’s pervasive and suffocating.
Carla saysMarch 23, 2015 at 4:25 am
thank you so so much for sharing that, Erica. Id never ever have guessed. And your phrase EXISTENTIAL BOREDOME has me thinking and pondering and mentally chewing…
Fadra saysMarch 23, 2015 at 10:12 pm
Angela @ happy fit mama saysMarch 23, 2015 at 4:17 am
I’ve had loneliness feelings before. I’ve been in a crowded room of people, interacting and still felt lonely. I think when I acknowledged it, is when it went away. Weird. It’s kind of like the pink elephant in the room that no one wants to talk about.
Carla saysMarch 23, 2015 at 4:24 am
YES!!! and it’s that UM HERE I AM IN A CROWD AND IM MORE LONELY THAN BEFORE which is my crazymaker as well. My frustration. And now that I ponder it could also be my (habit and) IVE MOVED AGAIN AND IM TAPPED OUT OF SMALL TALK feeling…
Allie saysMarch 23, 2015 at 4:47 am
I feel most alone when I don’t want to share feelings, issues, thoughts and I try to break it down into why. Not a good place or feeling. Mostly I feel alone on my LONG runs…but that’s in a good way 🙂
Runner Girl saysMarch 23, 2015 at 5:04 am
I can’t comment now, Carla, but you struck me with this.
I need to process it.
Susan saysMarch 23, 2015 at 5:14 am
sometimes, I think it comes from all of the mom small talk. You are constantly talking and interacting but so often on a surface level. I have a standing lunch date with a friend and we sit and talk about the hard stuff with the kids and the fun. I always leave feeling better and as if someone else is going through a similar experience.
Tina Muir saysMarch 23, 2015 at 5:24 am
Powerful post once again my friend. I love how you write about those topics that most of us would never really think to write, until you say it, and it makes perfect sense. I definitely think it is so easy to get this way, which is insane, but we do crave human interaction, and its just not the same as what we get through social. I think you will enjoy my runners connect interview with chris mcdougall,he has some profound thoughts on this 🙂 I will let you know when its out 🙂
AmyC saysMarch 23, 2015 at 5:24 am
I felt lonely for a while the last time I moved and I’m hoping to not make the same introverted mistakes this time!
Hannah saysMarch 23, 2015 at 5:33 am
I’m moving next month and dreading the loneliness.
For me it is hard because it feels sometimes like everyone has a shared story and I’m the new kid.
Amanda - RunToTheFinish saysMarch 23, 2015 at 5:25 am
Yes. Moving repeatedly has made me feel lonely. Then suddenly as you noted I will realize it’s a feeling not an entire truth.
What I’m longing for is those people who know me, the easy connection, not the constant remaking of new friendships. I can be surrounded by people networking and still feel lonely because it’s fun, but they don’t know me.
This…this is my big hairy spider to kill.
lindsay Cotter saysMarch 23, 2015 at 7:44 am
OH yes, i so agree and can relate to Amanda. And this –> “I’ve considered the notion my loneliness is a clear-cut as living the wrong priorities.”
Hannah saysMarch 23, 2015 at 5:26 am
I like how you have realized it isn’t just about meeting people and making small talk.
The surface chit chat can make me feel more lonely.
Sarah @RunFarGirl saysMarch 23, 2015 at 5:36 am
I am a lover of solitude. But loneliness is so different. It’s, like Angela said, being in a crowded room and feeling more alone than you were when you were in your car driving to that event. It’s a thought that you don’t feel like you can express to anyone. It’s the isolation that happens when you make big life choices and leave behind friends. It’s being in a group, but feeling like you don’t belong, because while you agree on X, you don’t agree on Y and Z. I think sometimes I don’t sit with and process my loneliness, I just power through it. I stay busy. I think I need to look for the connection, the commonality and above all be willing to be vulnerable.
CARLA saysMarch 23, 2015 at 5:38 am
AND THAT becomes the question for me too.
Does one power through?
Should one embrace it and FEEL ALL THE FEELS 🙂 and squash it like a grape in the roof of her mouth and THEN pass through?
<3 your insights.
MCM Mama Runs saysMarch 23, 2015 at 5:46 am
I hear you, sister! I think for me it’s the lack of deep connections with people. I have friends I can connect with like that, but it just does not happen enough. Instead, my life is filled with the small talk of social media and school drop off.
Olive saysMarch 23, 2015 at 5:48 am
I’d missed your post about boredom and I think that is why loneliness is debilitating for me.
Because there is not one thing good which is born from it.
Great post as always, Carla.
Tammy saysMarch 23, 2015 at 6:06 am
I’m lonely all the time, too. I go to work and interact with people all day, but none of my friends ever have time to do things on the weekends. Maybe it’s what you said, “People don’t want to be around lonelies” because it seems like they have time to do things with other people.
While social media is a great tool for keeping up with people, I think it has made a lot of us lonely. It is easier to send a text that to actually speak with someone, and it’s easier to post a message to a group than to make contact with individuals. We are losing the personal touch that we all crave.
Erin@BeetsPerMinute saysMarch 23, 2015 at 6:17 am
Loneliness is definitely something I’ve struggled with. I used to get very blurred about the definition of it. I used to think being lonely meant having nobody or nothing to do, but you’re right it’s not that. You could be in a room with 100 people you know and still feel lonely (not alone). I hope that recognizing and working it out through your post is a step in the right direction. 🙂
Coco saysMarch 23, 2015 at 6:18 am
It is SO hard to have time for rewarding social interactions between working and caregiving. That’s why most of mine are on line, but I’m trying to do more off-line too.
Coco saysMarch 23, 2015 at 6:20 am
I need to add, LOL-ing is not nearly as soul-reviving as laughing with a friend, and while virtual hugs can be helpful they are not as healing as a physical touch.
Izzy saysMarch 23, 2015 at 6:24 am
“Feeling not fact”
Those are powerful words.
Jennifer F saysMarch 23, 2015 at 6:45 am
In high school and some of college I definitely existed to be in a group and entertained by others, never alone but probably lonely in retrospect. Today I’m more of a one-woman wolf pack . . . . put feeling lonely has never, well rarely, entered my thoughts.
misszippy saysMarch 23, 2015 at 6:52 am
I’m sorry you find yourself here, but I know that you are always so good about changing what needs to be changed in your life, so I am confident you’ll find your way out. In the meantime, I’ll be thinking of you!
Joanna @Makingmine saysMarch 23, 2015 at 6:54 am
I felt this way almost daily a few months ago – being a stay at home mom had finally caught up with me and I wasn’t putting in the work to break the “lonely.” Great perspective
Valerie saysMarch 23, 2015 at 7:14 am
So. Many. Thoughts.
I’ve struggled with this feeling of loneliness off and on – as the years go by, more off and less on, thankfully – since our move five years ago. It was hard for me to define and even harder to explain once I defined it – yes, I was physically removed from my closest friends, but I was still in touch and sharing the minutest details about our lives. We loved each other as much as ever and that would never change. We still do. I didn’t feel abandoned or forsaken. But somehow, I felt so crushingly lonely.
After years of navel-gazing, I’ve come to the conclusion that loneliness, for me, means not feeling heard, not feeling understood and accepted. This was, at least in part, an outgrowth of my own inability to share the full breadth of my unhappiness and anxiety and discomfort and sense of being an outsider in my world, of having no real place to belong. I had the support network in my old friends; I just didn’t feel I could keep dumping that unhappiness on them over and over, especially when they, too, were adjusting to the void I’d left by moving. In trying to be positive, I compromised to some extent the genuineness of our connection, and that breeds loneliness.
There were and are a ton of other factors, of course – the increasing difficulty of making meaningful new connections as I get older, the subtle distancing that’s taken place between myself and my husband over the course of this relocation, the ups-and-downs of a job that has been an emotional minefield at times, the struggles my daughter has faced as puberty has activated all the chemical issues I’d so hoped I wouldn’t pass on to her. The unpleasant realization that the place I grew up is not now, and never will be again, the home of my heart, and that I have very little in common with most of the people around me. But those are all things that I think I’d have handled with much more grace if I’d felt able to really share the full craptastic-ness of them all with those who love me.
So I guess my point is that I don’t think loneliness is really about who’s around you, it’s just more about the degree to which you can connect with them. The degree to which you can let down the walls of normality and let the inner crazy person just cry or grouch or whine or gibber, if necessary. When that’s what you really need to do, anything else – small talk, for example – is exhausting and disheartening.
And I’m not sure there’s anything helpful or meaningful in any of this. I’m just rambling. But I will say I believe I understand – as much as possible anyway – what you’re talking about. And I think it’s great that you’re talking about it.
CARLA saysMarch 23, 2015 at 7:18 am
UM WOW? This is why I still blog, Valerie.
This is why for me “old school blogging” is NOT the link ups or ABC’s of blogging etc.
For me old school blogging is about the COMMENTversation.
THANK YOU FOR YOUR THOUGHTFUL COMMENT.
As always you nailed me.
and captured better than I ever could have….
Valerie saysMarch 23, 2015 at 7:24 am
And this is why I’m *glad* you still blog. So many things you say are so spot on with things I’ve felt but couldn’t articulate and/or help me make sense of things I couldn’t quite figure out myself. It’s beautiful and cathartic and makes me feel so much less alone. 🙂
melissa saysMarch 23, 2015 at 7:26 am
You can’t underestimate the move factor. It took me years to find my groove when we moved and even still it’s a very different groove than when all my friends were living nearby. Make sure you make time for the folks you know love you and get you even if it’s virtually so you don’t look sight of the fact that, as Stuart Smalley would say, “You’re good enough, you’re smart enough, and gosh darn it, people like you.” Eventually the locals will catch on. XO
Lisa @ RunWiki saysMarch 23, 2015 at 7:27 am
I am wrapping my arms around you. I know the feeling of lonely, it is generally something that arises when I feel I have been misunderstood. I found for me personally it’s best not to judge the feeling to harsh. Let the feeling of “lonely” rise up in you and say hello to it like an old friend. Find the blessing in it. It did after all allow you to write this beautiful post. It doesn’t define you and it’s not who are, but it pops up from time to time. Surround yourself with the friends who understand the deep part of your soul, someone you trust and who is fiercely loyal. Call on your “warm blanket” friend, one who will embrace your loneliness not judge or reject it… I believe that the more we bring it on the quicker it vanishes from sight…. kind of like ripping off a band-aid. xoxo
Sarah saysMarch 23, 2015 at 7:31 am
Try new hobbies, something to get you mind off.
Trish saysMarch 23, 2015 at 7:31 am
Totally get this on so many levels!
Natalia saysMarch 23, 2015 at 8:00 am
Lonely, I think this feeling comes with this new age of tech. On any given day, we can have tons of interactions but none of them…real? Texting, FB messaging, twitter, FBing and I’m sure tons more, most communication is through or with a keyboard of some sort. I think that gives us the illusion of having tons of friends, but it’s just an illusion of interactions, most of them not meaningful. For me, I find myself not wanting to communicate any other way. I have to force myself out into the real world and there are times that it’s very lonely. A good majority of my friends are virtual. So when I take my son to park days or go to real events, I may be in a room or an area full of people but there is no friend in sight.
I may be speaking of a different kind of loneliness?
Carla saysMarch 23, 2015 at 8:06 am
I think we all experience it differently – – but it’s the commonality of the experience that makes me feel less alone.
My initial thought was to share the fact I do not find social media isolating at all – – I have forged some amazing bonds through Twitter Facebook etc. – – but then I paused and realized these bonds are created away from the social media platform.
Sometimes by private message – – yes – – but many through face-to-face even though it’s still relying on the virtual. Skype Google hang out etc.
Good gosh life is amazing confusing lonely and connecting. All at once. xo
Heather Hurd saysMarch 23, 2015 at 8:09 am
I struggle with this one big time. With a husband who travels 90% of the time, I’m essentially a single mom during the week. I don’t have time to hang out with work friends after work because I have to get the kid. I love the kid, and we have a lot of great time together, but I don’t have adult friends. I don’t spend almost any time in fulfilling interactions with anyone except my child and, about once a week, my parents. It’s hard, it’s scary, and I don’t like to admit it because I feel like I can’t. It’s a weakness I don’t have time for, something indulgent that I should forget about or ignore until it goes away.
Carla saysMarch 23, 2015 at 8:12 am
YES! He’s gone 90% here m-f and the weekends SHE wants tripod time and then and then and then POOF! Ive not carved out that friend time. Or me restorative time. <3
Heather Hurd saysMarch 23, 2015 at 12:26 pm
Exactly, and I don’t even know HOW! I mean how do you find the time when it’s just you and her? During the week I want to give her every minute, so then I stay up too late chasing ME time at night, but then I’m exhausted most days. And weekends are go-go-go to make up for lost Daddy time, plus it’s the only time I get with him too. I feel guilty escaping for a yoga class.
Krysten saysMarch 23, 2015 at 8:09 am
I love the point about “false priorities” – that is something I have been grappling with. Doing LOTS of things, but not always the things I value. You are a wise woman!
Brooke: Not On a Diet saysMarch 23, 2015 at 8:17 am
This really struck a chord with me.
I really don’t have many local friends, but the ones that I do have, I don’t reach out enough to see them. This is my fault and I am making the loneliness a habit.
Same goes with my friends from all over, I don’t make the time to reach out and then get sad when I see them interacting with others from our tribe.
My problem is I always feel like I’m being a bother to people and they won’t want to hang out with me.
Super ridiculous. I let fear paralyze me way too often.
And now I’m just sort of rambling…..lol.
Tammy saysMarch 23, 2015 at 8:54 am
Brooke – I agree with you about feeling like a bother. I’ve tried reaching out to schedule something with friends or just to call to say “hi”, but they never do the same for me, so I figured that I was annoying them and I stopped. So, that just makes it worse, and it becomes a self-imposed loneliness. I live in my hometown, but my husband wants to move. It scares me. If I’m lonely here with friends around me, then how bad will it be to move where I don’t know a soul?
Carla saysMarch 23, 2015 at 8:58 am
whether it’s crazy or not I TAKE NOTHING PERSONALLY. for me I think I say loneliness has become a habit because I dont reach out. I tend to think when others dont reach out to me that it isnt about it. that THEY are busy or THEY are struggling etc. choosing to think this way has really helped me—-whether it’s true or not 🙂
Kia Ruiz saysMarch 23, 2015 at 8:19 am
It is possible to be massively productive, surrounded by other physical presences, and feel lonely. After a breakup in college where I was dumped with zero closure I allowed myself to be helluva lonely but buried my nose in work and school. A few years later I popped my head up from my ostrich hiding hole to realize I was in a PhD program on another coast as a result of not dealing with loneliness. I am more introverted by nature without needing others around me to recharge. I knew it was a temporary condition and did a lot of solo activities to keep charged in that time. Coming out of this prolonged lonely spell was hysterical since I had zero game for dating and being social with others. I practiced until I was less weird at parties and other gatherings. My path is not the same path for others. I feel for my friends in a lonely state these days. All I can send is love and hopes that you are patient with your process.
Elle saysMarch 23, 2015 at 8:30 am
I don’t have these feelings right now. I spend about 80% of my IRL time with my husband and have for years. We are probably way too big in each other’s lives but it makes us happy NOW. I know one day there will be excruciating loneliness for one or the other of us, but I am not living THERE yet…
Sandra Laflamme saysMarch 23, 2015 at 8:33 am
I’ve definitely struggled with loneliness. I crave relationships with people and life can be so busy, with everyone going in all different directions that it can be hard to cultivate meaningful relationships. And yes, it does become habit. I have recently begun to make a change to actively work to grow relationships to fill in the lonely spaces. I think I had given up on that for awhile and it had put me into a hole of emptiness. Your post here is spot on. I feel for you in your loneliness. It will get better. I am working at it too.
Michelle Smiles saysMarch 23, 2015 at 8:37 am
You have good reason to feel lonely my friend. Largely doing the kid/house/dog thing solo is lonely. Moving is lonely. Working from home is lonely.
I go through periods of loneliness. Mine is usually self imposed. I have friends here. They will make themselves available if I need them. But it requires that I reach out and demand their time. I dislike being needy and imposing on others so I don’t always make that effort even though I could. It sometimes requires more mental energy than I possess to rescue myself. I usually trace it back to not having a person (ever watch Grey’s Anatomy? Christina was Meredith’s person). My person is my BFF in Ohio. She is busy with a child and husband and life of her own 700 miles away. But she is my one,, longtime, never fails me friend. The one I could never feel like I was imposing on. The one I wouldn’t have to say “I need you because I’m feeling lonely” because she would have realized it around the same time I did and thrown me a rope. She is still my person but can’t be in the same way that she was when we lived within a couple of miles or hours of each other.
I have trouble getting a new person. I can’t seem to make a friendship that deep at this stage in life. It (to me – but I see others doing it) feels like something that is forged in school years.
Jody - Fit at 57 saysMarch 23, 2015 at 8:45 am
I honestly thought you would be the last person I heard this from with your huge support group online, family & I thought you had a group there before you left Austin…
I don’t really feel lonely but I often feel alone & to me that is entirely different….
Michele @ paleorunningmomma saysMarch 23, 2015 at 8:53 am
This is really interesting and made me reflect. While I don’t feel lonely currently, I spend a good deal of time either alone or alone with my kids, like pretty much all the time. I felt VERY lonely when I first became a mom and that went on until I stepped out of my comfort zone (my lonely zone) and joined a moms group where I interacted with other moms every day for a LONG time. I was really desperate for interaction. When I felt lonely I think I really felt disconnected, and though I spend just as much time alone now I feel connected to many things – community, family, friends (even if I don’t see them as much) running, and my blog/the blog world. If I hadn’t actively broken out of my loneliness I’m not sure what would’ve happened.
Nancy Johnson Horn saysMarch 23, 2015 at 8:55 am
This struck a chord. Because I feel lonely, even with my family around. I have to come out of my shell and make sure I reach out to friends, because they are there and do want to see me. I tend to dwell on friendships that aren’t working and take for granted the ones that have been there. I felt it so much the other day when I spent time with a friend and her new baby. That it didn’t have to be like this.
Laura saysMarch 23, 2015 at 8:57 am
I have times when I’m lonely but it’s not a baseline at this point in my life. My loneliest times were as a SAHM and struggling with my self confidence in the face of the sweater set cabal of mommies. Thank you for sharing this piece and your reflection on the shallow nature of interactions on social media.
Carla saysMarch 23, 2015 at 8:59 am
LOVE that phrasing. Love how you weave words…
Kymberly saysMarch 23, 2015 at 9:23 am
I guess I am lucky as I rarely feel lonely. The main time was when I lived outside my culture, in another country. I knew at the time that my full personality was subdued as I tried to sssimilate. Also it was hard to fully be myself in a foreign language, which also had me lonely often. By the way, great green glasses!
KCLAnderson (Karen) saysMarch 23, 2015 at 9:24 am
It wasn’t until I read this (and some of the comments) that I realized that my mostly introverted self feels lonely in a crowd of folks small-talking. I crave deeper connection with fewer people. I can even be alone and have that deeper connection with myself and not feel lonely, if that makes any sense at all. So yeah…it’s the quality of the connection (and what I make it mean) versus the quantity that helps me feel less lonely.
Cassandre saysMarch 23, 2015 at 9:38 am
There is so much power in acknowledging being lonely. I am currently dealing with loneliness via infertility. I feel like unless you go through it no one understands the range of emotiona you go through. It’s just me in my own thoughts and dealing with the emotions of dr’s appointments, etc.. Loneliness isn’t a bad thing because it does remind you of the things you do in have in life that are bountiful, loneliness to me is temporary.
P.s. I’ve never acknowledge this in public so thanks for giving me my power. “There’s power in acknowledging loneliness”..
Carla saysMarch 23, 2015 at 9:41 am
Im honored by every comment as I am grateful when anyone spends her most valuable commodity (time) here.
Im even MORE HONORED you’d share that here and can only hope I played the tiniest role in your realization. <3
Kim saysMarch 23, 2015 at 9:43 am
The past few years have been the loneliest years of my life!!!
It was one thing to be a SAHM when my boys were little – so many mom activities and I met lots of great people – good friendships!! Then I went to work at my boys elementary school for 5 years. The job was fine but I loved the people – lots of good times with great people.
3 years ago I left that job because I was bored out of my mind since there was zero challenge involved in the job no matter how hard I tried, I didn’t realize that all my work friends were just that – friends when we worked together only.
I started my blog and social media has filled one part of a void but there is still a deep lonely feeling that I haven’t been able to move past.
Kathy @ SMART Living 365.com saysMarch 23, 2015 at 9:56 am
Hi Carla! Clearly an intriguing topic that strikes a cord with many. Yes, I’ve felt lonely in the past at times. But like many who have commented before, it seems much less now. Is it me or is time moving faster and faster? That might be part of it but I do think that some of it comes from feeling heard (by my blogging and writing) and also from learning to accept myself on deeper and deeper levels. I think I used to need others to validate both my feelings and my desires more and as I “mature” I am feeling more and more settled with who I am and what is important. And as I become more comfortable with “me” I need others less and less. Sure I enjoy getting together with others and having fun (there is a bit of the FOMO in all of it) but mostly it is knowing I am okay and enough exactly as I am. Hmmmm…probably lots of good ideas here for my own blog post 🙂 Thanks! ~Kathy
Sara saysMarch 23, 2015 at 10:29 am
It’s a crazy sisterhood so many of us belong to but have no idea there are other members. We live in a connected world yet this feeling of loneliness is widespread. It doesn’t make sense. But I’ve discovered that the more I move to a digitally connected life I stopped making time for connecting with those whom I can actually touch with my digits. I’ve found that I was “busy” when friends asked to meet for lunch or coffee. I was busy when opportunities came up to see a movie with a girlfriend. Being busy is the gateway drug to lonely. I’ve had to stop being busy with my online world so I could not be lonely in my physical world.
You’re an amazingly talented, kind, and generous person, Carla. Share all that with the people in your physical life and not just with us here online. It seems so difficult to do these days. But we can do it! (and I say “we” because I have to hear it just as much as I say it to you)
Carla saysMarch 23, 2015 at 11:50 am
thank you. Youre so right. No matter if Im wiped from the moves moves moves I need to try again (for the last time :-)) and create my tribe.
AdjustedReality saysMarch 23, 2015 at 11:10 am
Love your honesty! Sounds like recognizing the issue is half the problem here.
Younger days, I had huge FOMO and always had to be hanging out with someone or better yet, a group of someones. Maybe it’s just a combination of getting older, having a job where I spend most of my day interacting/directing people, and also having a husband who I’d rather spend time with than anyone else, but I’m a lot less people-seeking in my free time.
However, I’m lucky enough to have a group of friends that drag me out anyway. They know it’s for my own good. 🙂
Deb Roby saysMarch 23, 2015 at 11:42 am
I think loneliness MAY be a result of a choice you make. It often sounds as if when you are not with your daughter you are working. Making the choice to spend time with her WITH her.
Yet, how often do you not go to/plan a lunch with friends because you choose to work? How would spending 1.5 hours a week socializing change your perception of loneliness? How much would it seriously impact your work? (is there work you are doing that is business?)
I’ve been incredibly lonely. I’ve made choices to get out of my comfort zone and be among people. I’m just wondering how much you’re using your work/often parenting solo gigs to insulate yourself from putting things out there?
Carla saysMarch 23, 2015 at 11:49 am
Ive really noticed you doing that too DEB! Getting out there. Getting involved. I need to be the DEB.
Rena McDaniel saysMarch 23, 2015 at 11:57 am
I’m sure most of it could be attributed to your move, but I think that you ought to invest in a little more time in your social life. You are a terrific mom but you are still a woman and sometimes you need adults in your life.
Lisa saysMarch 23, 2015 at 1:07 pm
I totally get it. I have a pretty full life with lots of friends but life gets busy and the routine can become a rut. Then I realize that I’m feeling lonely and I think “oh yeah, I haven’t hung out with my friends in awhile” and I remedy that and it’s like night and day! Suddenly I feel a lot happier about life!
Good luck, hope you make some new friends in your new city. Hugs!
mimi saysMarch 23, 2015 at 1:42 pm
Yes, i’ve been lonely, but usually i was also depressed.
Taylor @ LiftingRevolution.com saysMarch 23, 2015 at 1:53 pm
Perfectly said. I think clearly we can all relate. Sometimes its amazing how we can surround ourselves with people yet still feel so small and alone. For years I stressed on this but like you said, I realized my priorities and decided to focus on that, to grow towards my passion. Now, I feel like I’m never lonely! <– a good and bad thing!
Yum Yucky saysMarch 23, 2015 at 2:18 pm
I spent a lot of time alone as a child – my school friends lived far from my house and relatives I lived with didn’t interact with me much. Yet being alone and feeling lonely are two different things. I’ve felt them of both throughout my life and learned to understand the difference. What I do know is that loneliness makes you feel like you need someone or something else to fill a void, which just isn’t true. I turned to prayer in those times and found peace and completeness.
Cindy saysMarch 23, 2015 at 2:35 pm
My definition of lonely is when I am with people and I don’t relate to them. I am used to being alone and I can certainly be bored but it is an entirely different thing when I am with a group of people that feel like space aliens to me!
Jessica R. saysMarch 23, 2015 at 3:24 pm
I find myself feeling lonely when I don’t feel heard or noticed by the people who matter to me. (And social media makes this worse because you’re in constant contact we people who are yelling out their feelings and thoughts, but not listening or connecting.)
I’ve also learned that it’s on me to say something about it, because people don’t see it or feel it the way I do.
So now I know when that feeling creeps up I need to ask myself what honestly would make me feel less lonely and usually it’s a drink with a close friend or two, or a shared moment with my spouse.
Carla saysMarch 23, 2015 at 3:30 pm
Yes. And I know my two major moves in two years have exacerbated my condition 🙂 but I do think in so many instances for me you’re right.
I tend to immediately think: social media doesn’t spark me to feel lonely! but when I pause I realize so many relationships I’ve started on social media I’ve since taken off-line and into real life…
Erica saysMarch 23, 2015 at 3:25 pm
Excellent piece! Sometimes I think just making healthy lifestyle choices can be isolating. For me, waking up at 5am to workout, choosing to cook at home rather than go out, skipping 9pm drinks with ‘normal’ people and then going to bed before 10pm, makes it tough to connect with people on a different schedule/living a more ‘normal’ lifestyle.
Carla saysMarch 23, 2015 at 3:29 pm
AMEN, Sister!! 🙂
Jessica @eatsleepbe.com saysMarch 23, 2015 at 3:54 pm
YES! I have so struggled with this, and it certainly can become a habit. I think introverted people tend to experience loneliness. For me it is when I’m feeling either misunderstood, or hoping that someone to reach out to me. I so get that. And you can email, call or Skype me any time!
Dr. J saysMarch 23, 2015 at 5:21 pm
They say we were given the gift of loneliness so we wouldn’t spend our lives alone!
cherylann saysMarch 25, 2015 at 5:18 pm
I love this!
GiGi Eats saysMarch 23, 2015 at 7:08 pm
I always pretended like I wasn’t lonely – back when I would shelter myself from the world… But in reality, I truly was. And now that I have found someone… And live in Los Angeles — my need for human interaction has changed… So when I am not with people, I certainly do get lonely!
Michelle @ Running with Attitude saysMarch 23, 2015 at 8:00 pm
As always you have struck such a chord with me – yes I struggle with loneliness at times. I feel like I cannot connect with many of those around me beyond very surface level small talk. This is when I realize I have to reach out and connect with my tribe no matter how busy or far-flung they may be.
lynn saysMarch 23, 2015 at 8:11 pm
Thank you for the post Amanda its great and really good some information worth considering…
She Rocks Fitness saysMarch 23, 2015 at 8:39 pm
Oh I struggle with loneliness all the time…but for me it is because I don’t have a boyfriend or husband. Sometimes it really bothers me, but then other times I realize that I do have a family and friends who I can lean on…a puppy that loves me unconditionally. Who knows if I will meet someone or not, but I don’t want to dwell on that.
Fadra saysMarch 23, 2015 at 10:17 pm
Did you know you can be married and have friends and still feel lonely? Of course you do. For me lately, I’ve got this giant ball of feelings that seem to include loneliness, boredom, and a sense of belonging. I’m quite sure I’m on the cusp of what nicer articles are calling a midlife transition. What I know for sure is that I’ll be spending the next year finding my way.
“All the lonely people, where do they all come from.”
Laura @ Sprint 2 the Table saysMarch 24, 2015 at 12:30 am
This is a really interesting thing to reflect on. I lived alone for 5 years and barely dated. Lots of friends, but I went home ALONE. I don’t recall feeling lonely – I loved the peace of my space. Then I met Vegas… every time I went home alone after a visit, I felt a little lonely. It was in a good-ish way. I was sad to be without her, but how nice it was to have someone to miss!
Kristina Walters @ Kris On Fitness saysMarch 24, 2015 at 4:50 am
It’s funny that you point that out. I felt more lonely when I was in my marriage than now being out. It is a habit that you can get sucked into. I prefer to break it.
Fancy Nancy saysMarch 24, 2015 at 9:01 am
I have been feeling similar lately….for me it is the lack of deep connections with people…like I am only connecting on the surface and not really deeply. You know those people where you see them and they just know! I do think sometimes I get wrapped up in the feeling of it that I need to pull myself out.
Jess @hellotofit saysMarch 24, 2015 at 10:00 am
Oh, this is deep, Carla! And I like it. I love that you took the time to explore this seemingly simple word, and really dove into what it could entail.
cherylann saysMarch 25, 2015 at 5:16 pm
I am alone alot- but I never feel lonely. Maybe because I am with people so much and that I am comfortable with myself (being alone) and actually crave it, that I am good with the “alone” thing and most times prefer it.
Most times my motto is “Hell is other people”- to
borrow a good quote.
Dawn saysMarch 26, 2015 at 8:56 am
Hi Carla, been thinking about you the past few days since I read this. You are such a caring loving person that seems to be there for SOOOOO many others all the time. I’ve appreciated your comments on my blog all these years and getting to meet you a few times and you are just a special soul. So reading that you’ve been feeling lonely made me wish I could come to Texas and give you a great big hug and hang out and talk 🙂 But I also know that so often when we are experiencing that “inner loneliness” it’s different and it’s not something really anyone can help us get over but us. I’m not saying friends and loved ones can’t help with making it a bit less but I do think it’s something we have to get through. I also think it’s something that happens to all of us at some point in our lives or for some of us often. I’m sure you’ll get through it with time. I do find reaching out to others does help and with all the wonderful comments you’ve gotten I’m guessing you’re already feeling a little better or maybe even a lot 🙂 Hang in there, big life changes are tough for all of us and you’ve been through a few. So sending you a big loving hug and wishing you well.
emmaclaire saysMarch 26, 2015 at 6:40 pm
Late to this post, but it is uncanny how much this sums up where I am right now! The only other time I can remember feeling as lonely as I do now is when the first few weekends my son stayed with his dad after we divorced. Eventually, I used that time to spend with friends, and then a boyfriend and then re-married. I think the reason I’m feeling it again, and so pervasively, is because my daughter went off to college. I used to share most everything with my mother, and when she died, I did more of that with my daughter (though obviously not in the same way), and, now that she’s not at home, I have felt very lonely. My husband does his best, and I have friends with whom I can share certain facets of my life, but my mom and The Princess were the only ones who really knew/know the whole package. Not sure how I’m going to handle that moving forward, and I’m looking for a counselor to help me figure it all out. Good luck finding a way past/around/through your loneliness.
Susie @ SuzLyfe saysMarch 27, 2015 at 10:05 am
I know lonely too well. I’ve been alone yet surrounded, and surrounded yet lonely, and alone yet lonely, and surrounded and feeling it. My first 6 months here in Chicago I definitely felt lonely–then I started this blog, and I realized that I was never alone if I didn’t want to be. I just had to look in the right places.
Karen saysMarch 27, 2015 at 10:45 am
I think that it does become a habit. Unlike you, I don’t have friends to turn to. My husband and my girls are pretty much my life outside of work and over the years I just haven’t developed many friends. I think my problem is that I am a one friend at a time friend. I am not into big social groups. I think it just becomes easier for me to be alone. I don’t have to put myself out there and can avoid the fear of rejection. The result is loneliness. I don’t always feel it. But when I do it can be very profound.