The older you get, the worse “lonely” feels.
With the passing of each day, we feel more entitled to an intense sense of belonging to something or someone that annihilates this bizarre sensation. Lonely. If only time shot this peculiar sense of being alone into the ether and framed it as a series of memories- a photo essay of a hooded middle schooler with Kid Cudi blaring in their earphones, a freshman in college reaching for their phone (unsure if his/her parents will be annoyed that they’re calling for the third time that day with nowhere else to turn), and a recent college graduate in a new city with nothing to rely on except two daunting numbers that point to the end and start of freedom for 5 out of the 7 days of the week. While father time may claim to heal all, he sure as hell does not guarantee unconditional camaraderie or impervious purpose.
You have a significant other? LUCKY. You have a job that pays well? What a BLESSING. You don’t? You’re happy?!
I wonder if there are people who are wealthy and married and not lonely… and still listen to Kid Cudi and call their parents 3 times a day while working a 9 to 5? I’m sure many people in this demographic still feel the need to- still get to?
Occasionally when I’m at a concert or music festival, I’ll find myself gravitating to an open space 5 feet ahead of those I came with- engaged, completely locked into the set being played. If I take 5 steps back into the bubble of the group, my focus on the music begins to fade and I question my appreciation for it. How is it that when I’m alone with no stimulation: alone is hard and I won’t even want to listen to music, but when I’m in my happiest social setting, I push myself to experience it free of distraction?
When I’m home alone, there are friends who I DM that I have never met in real life- friends. I wholeheartedly would consider some people that I have never met friends.
There is no depiction of lonely that is correct or even more accurate than another. Things don’t just happen and thus cannot (and SHOULD not) be attributed to chance or luck. The reason I prefer positioning myself a bit in front of my friends is that I have 23-year-old-millennial-in-2019-ADD and you can still feel love intensely from an arms reach away. 10 ft is closer than the distance when texting/calling/facetiming/DMing friends.
Lonely begins to feel worse as we age because why the hell would it begin to feel good? The real reason I’m lonely on a Tuesday at 7 pm is that I didn’t sleep well the night before or perhaps I’m ruminating over something that will be virtually meaningless to me in a matter of months. People who “go abroad” stereotypically come home from their experience feeling whole because they saw something within themselves that seemingly annihilated their loneliness. While it’s a much taller order to do so, it is feasible to return from the grocery store with this same sensation.
Life doesn’t just give you lemons… in fact, you pretty much always have to buy them- get to buy them! Don’t wait for something to happen to you to make something happen to not feel alone- lonely. Make lemonade on your own volition.
Writing and Photography by Kian McHugh / Edited by Kenzie Jones