Johann Hari says, “Loneliness isn’t the physical absence of other people, it’s the sense that you’re not sharing anything that matters with anyone else.”
I like my own company – a lot. In fact, if I am surrounded by too many people, or there are people in my environment constantly, my nerves get a little jangled. I will find my way into a quiet spot in the garden, or go to my room to “zone out”, if required.
I also fully appreciate people who really like to interact with others all the time and need a great deal of company to feel comfortable. There does not seem to be a happy medium.
As Johann says, loneliness is not the absence of other people. One can be surrounded by constant company and still feel lonely. I also believe we all feel loneliness differently – or at the very least – to varying degrees. On the whole, my life is good. Yes, there are ups and downs, just like everyone else, but it is the consistency of not sharing at all that gets us all down. Loneliness – the silent killer. Ultimately, I believe it will be a much bigger killer than Covid 19. It is already being noticed in places like the UK.
I feel lonely on a few occasions, and there is a whole list of things that make it really apparent. Not one thing on the list is a complete train smash, but in combination, it feels like an empty, meaningless life. No-one notices my haircut, or if the floor is washed, or I have a new dress. No-one takes my car for a wash, brings me coffee in bed, or asks if my headache is better, or runs me a bath. I do not have a conversation about insurance premiums with anyone, or no-one replaces a globe, when it is out. I always have to go and get milk, and no one laughs with me if the cat is funny. No-one notices my grand achievements or my baby steps. No one wipes my tears or celebrates my happiness.
This is fairly bad for me, and I am a loner. I can also hop in my car and interact with others or invite people to my place. I can’t even fathom what it must be like for the elderly who see absolutely no-one. I love the fact that the more enlightened authorities are seeing the benefit of creating orphanages and old aged homes adjacent to each other. The benefits to both the kids and the elderly are immeasurable.
It is the connection that we miss. The connection we used to have when we lived in small villages. Everyone was connected and no one person was more important than the community. I do believe that we have a desire to live in our village communities again. A community where everyone plays a part in the betterment of the whole.
For years I have yearned for this. I want a community that builds and creates a future that is sustainable, vibrant, economically viable and and above all else, supportive of each other. Where that which I have to add, adds value to the whole community. I place where the value of interdependence is paramount and co-dependence does not exits or is at least a minimum.
Codependent relationships form a reliance upon either party and the relationship becomes stagnant as a result. In interdependent relationships everyone grows in their own right and contributes to the relationship for the betterment of all, without anyone feeling threatened by such growth. The biggest gift we can give another is to make them independent of ourselves. Not just financially, but emotionally and intellectually as well. If we achieve that, then every individual in the community will add value and strength to that community rather than drag it down and criticize. Few people can live like this though. Because it is easier to break down than to build up. And this is exactly why we have created our isolated, lonely society – where we are in competition with each other rather than in co-operation.
Co-operation is not possible in our current model that we have created in the world. It is so out of balance and so weighted to the few that the many are literally dying of loneliness. Let alone the poverty and all that goes with that.
I want my village back. I am grateful that I have surrounded myself with others who feel the same. I can finally say, “Soon. Soon I am coming home.”
It may not be utopia – but it is a start.