“Only the lonely… know the way I feel tonight. Only the lonely… know this feeling ain’t right! There goes my baby… there goes my heart… they’re gone forever… so far apart. But only the lonely know why I cry only the lonely… only the lonely.” Lyric borrowed from the circa 1960 45rpm single “Only the Lonely” written and performed by the late, great Roy Orbison (April 23, 1936-December 6, 1988 R.I.P.).
Wow, if there ever was a song to set the stage for a depressing literary follow up performance, that’d be it. Just for the record — though some of this column’s creatively convoluted content can apply, we are not going to delve into “lost love loneliness.” Romantic based loneliness applies when you’ve lost your one and only, only one, but it is still only just one person you’re lonely for. No, rather we’ll be looking at only the lonely from a broad spectrum…for those who’ve lost everybody and got nobody. But we’ll do so in an uplifting positive manner… somehow… maybe….
How many lonely people does it take to change a light bulb? Just one… there’s no one else there…and apparently we’ll do so by utilizing dark humor. You’d be surprised how therapeutic telling that joke to an empty room is. When you’re all alone… and have to change a light bulb.
Seriously though, studies show that chronic loneliness is as dangerous as smoking. But unlike a cigarette, you can’t just put being alone down. Of course you do run less risk of accidentally setting yourself on fire when you’re alone and not smoking. Chronic loneliness can make you physically crazy over time. It changes your perspective on the world and reality around you.
For example, the other day I saw this little old lady talking to her cat. From her hand gestures and body language it was clear she truly believed that cat understood her. In that moment I hoped to never get that lonely and senile. Anyway…later when I got home I told my dog about her. We laughed and laughed… Is it lonely in here…or is it just me?
Now before anyone gets the wrong idea, we are in no way, shape or form making fun of lonely people. Been there, done that… no, not making fun of lonely people, but having been a lonely person. And one of the best ways to deal with it is through humor… or making new friends. Loneliness can suck, but before letting depression take hold, think of all the initial advantages of being alone.
You can finally do all those things you couldn’t do when people wouldn’t just, “Leave you the hell alone!” If you stay busy finishing your business, that’s no one else’s business, you’ll not object as much when someone sticks their nose in yours.
“So where do you want to eat?” said no lonely person ever! Board games aren’t as much fun, but you can get really good at them and sometimes it’s just fun to play with yourself (that may be interpreted wrong).
Catch up on watching lots of movies and reading lots of books. This way when you’re not alone you’re not a completely boring shut-in. (Writer’s Note- Do not watch or read the same ones over and over, because when you’re not alone you’ll sound like an obsessive boring shut-in.)
But when you’re alone, dance like nobody’s watching, sing like nobody’s listening and love like you’ve never been hurt. Because nobody is, nobody wants to and the only one to love or hurt is you. Don’t hurt yourself and go easy on loving yourself (yet another possible misinterpretation) but maybe at least try to like yourself a little more. How can you expect anyone else to enjoy your company if you don’t? Get to know yourself better. You’re, like, right there. Get to know you, so you can know who should know you and what about you is worth knowing!
That seems like a suitable and positive place to leave you this week. So we will conclude this little one-sided therapy session with one last piece of sage advice. A parting tip, if you will, when faced with loneliness alone. Simply dim all lights and put on a horror movie — after a while it won’t feel like you are alone anymore.
I welcome almost all questions, comments via FOCUS, or E-mail me at [email protected]. Hope to hear from ya until then try and stay focused! See ya.