I’m Alone Often; I’m Lonely Rarely

I would like to make another shout out to thank Forrest Bourke for this awesome photo. You can see more of his work as well as support him on Instagram here: @forrest.bourke. His photography is extra special because he shoots on film and develops it himself. After reading this article, shoot on over and check out his work. Thanks Forrest! Okay, story time!

“We are all alone, born alone, die alone, and—in spite of True Romance magazines—we shall all someday look back on our lives and see that, in spite of our company, we were alone the whole way. I do not say lonely—at least, not all the time—but essentially, and finally, alone. This is what makes your self-respect so important, and I don’t see how you can respect yourself if you must look in the hearts and minds of others for your happiness.”

– Hunter S. Thompson

If you were to put that in front of my two years ago, I would have told you that you were, pardon my French, fucking crazy. For me, and for most of my life, the words “lonely” and “alone” were synonymous. I don’t think that way anymore…

Did you know we live in the loneliest time in the history of humans?

Yes, that is a subjective statement as I have not lived more than 27.7 years on our planet. So, why don’t you take someone else’s words for it:

“Three in 10 Millennials say they always or often feel lonely…”

Millennials are the loneliest generation by Jamie Ballard, Data Journalist

“22 percent say they have no friends at all…”

Millennials Are the Loneliest Generation, a Survey Shows by Minda Zetlin, former president of the American Society of Journalists and Authors

“America is currently undergoing a “loneliness epidemic” with almost 50% of participants feeling lonely…”

Study Reveals Gen Z as the Loneliest Generation in America by Jena Hilliard

“loneliness is the number one fear of young people today—ranking ahead of losing a home or a job…”

Millennials And The Loneliness Epidemic by Neil Howe, the man that literally coined the term “Millennial Generation”

Well shit. Regardless of these above articles and my thoughts, a good question to ask yourself before you dive deeper into this article would be: do I feel lonely sometimes? Rarely? Often? EVERY GODDAMN DAY AUSTIN?

On the positive, you aren’t alone in feeling lonely.

If you feel lonely, my heart goes out to you. I understand. Much of my 2018 I was incredibly lonely. Without diving far into my back story, I had made some decisions towards the end of 2017 and into 2018 which led to me losing 95% of my friend group.

It came out of nowhere. To say that I was shell shocked would be a gross understatement. I remember frantically reach out to anyone I could, simply to connect and feel heard and seen. I was in a lot of pain, and, in complete honesty, I was so lonely, so often, that I would often cry myself to sleep, if there was any sleep to be had that night.

I learned a very hard lesson. In life, you can be surrounded by people in one moment, and completely deserted in the next. It can happen to anyone. The one person that will always be with you, regardless of your life choices, is yourself.

I’m sorry. Life sucks sometimes.

It was during this time I began asking myself the right questions. Questions that I had to answer for myself.

I came to realize something very interesting:

I had been alone all along, even with my friends in my circle. The only difference was my perception and lack of acceptance.

Within Acceptance, I set Myself Free

I started to see that, at all times, I was truly alone.

Sometimes I was around people, and I didn’t want to be. In those times I would feel lonely. Sometimes I was around people, and I wanted to be. In those times I would feel connected to the group.

Sometimes I was not around people, and I wanted to be. In those times I would feel lonely. Sometimes I was not around people, and I didn’t want to be. In those time I felt connected to myself.

The “muscle” I needed to work out was my awareness of my needs. If I was alone and I wanted to be around people, I could do that. There are 7.53 Billion people on this planet. Time and time again has shown me some of them are interested in connecting with me.

They just might not be the “exact person” you are looking to connect with. Sometimes we have to let go of what it is when want in the moment, and accept what is in front of us in the given moment.

I started to see beyond the illusion of loneliness. Now, I am going to get some smack for this, but I think it needs to be said: Choosing to feel lonely is a choice, being alone is not.

And, with that, it’s been real folks. I think I’m going to enjoy some alone time now.

P.S. Dear Reader,

I hope that you have enjoyed my thoughts today, and I am incredibly grateful for you reading my stream of consciousness. If you enjoyed your read, please sign up for the newsletter (below on mobile, to the right on desktop). This tells me you enjoyed the piece, and it helps me continue to keep Points of Connection going!

Thank you for your support. It means the world to me.

With love, as always,

Austin Hunt

Meet the Author:
Austin Hunt

Austin is the lead writer and creator of Points of Connection. He's been studying dating, relationships, and how to build authentic intimacy for over 9 years now. You can find him sipping away at a cup of coffee at a local shop making friends with the stranger next to him.