Increased Loneliness in our Connected World

As I get older, I have a tendency to remember certain things of younger life
fondly, and equally as many (if not more) things not so fondly, but one thing
that I definitely miss is the ability to meet new people and be around a whole
bunch of guys and girls the same age. Yes, sure that’s not necessarily the holy
grail, but it sure is better than being alone a lot. Let me explain…

I’ve been working for myself for years, mostly in a home office, if I am not
traveling in places like Chiang May where public co-working-spaces are a thing.
I also am not really a person to join any clubs, traveling constantly kinda
makes it impractical. The next one? My home town is too small to have the
benefits of bigger cities… namely: a thriving meetup community, young
entrepreneurs, and good public transport. With all these variables, if I am not
traveling in a well-populated hotspot or at least a bigger city with a thriving
meetup scene, I can get pretty lonely.

At school, there was a more or less constant group of people that you would see
every single day. If you work in an office, you have co-workers that you can
meet at the water cooler (or maybe even at company dinners if you are lucky).
But for me, it can be a normal thing to not speak with a human soul for days.

At this point, I started thinking, is that a bad thing? Am I getting crazy? Will
I die alone and nobody will notice?

I guess those thoughts are a bit melodramatic, but none the less they are good
to get me thinking. The results are much less drastic though. It’s easy to turn
to modern distractions in those moments where we feel lonely. Netflix and Tinder
are right there on our smartphones. But is that really the right course of
action? I argue it is not.

What I have been doing now, especially since I am currently living in a smaller
town, is that I decided to stay away from the modern world a little bit. Don’t
just indulge in Instagram, YouTube, Tinder, or similar online services, but
instead slow down, take a book, write more, or — most importantly — go for a
walk or even hike in nature. I will still be alone, I might even feel lonely,
but that is exactly the point.

Learning to be Content — Alone
What I have been doing is that I purposefully have put myself in a position in
which I might feel alone or even lonely. You might ask yourself? Why on earth
would you do that? Why don’t you just call all the people in the world you know
to have some form of connection?

And my answer is rather simple: I don’t want to depend on those people. I want
genuine connection, honest and truthful. But most importantly I want a healthy
relationship with myself.

I want to feel good sitting in the park reading by myself without concerning
myself with the surrounding world. I want to enjoy a cup of tea all by myself in
a coffee shop. I desire to be smiling when I am in nature, soaking in all the
good sounds, smells, and the fresh breeze.

Far too often I feel the pull to take out my phone, check for notifications,
check if there is a connection happening, someone messaged me, or maybe I got a
new match on Tinder. Far too often this behavior has interrupted a perfectly
content and happy moment. Far too often I noticed this addiction to relationship
and the easy fixes.

The easy fix is not the solution though. It’s just something to pull you in even
deeper. Not letting go. Tying you in with psychological tricks and dopamine
rushes.

Learning to feel the loneliness, learning to be alone, enjoying the moment,
being content, and happy all by myself. It’s a journey, it’s an adventure, a
path that’s not easy. But I already feel how much it’s worth! How much the
freedom to not depend on others really means. The feeling that I am ok, whether
you show up or not. I am ok.

Featured Photo by Meghan Holmes
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on Unsplash
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