Turning it Around

Photo by Erik Shute

It seems loneliness is the toughest battle with the most stubborn solutions. We all fight it— some of us longer than others. It doesn’t matter if you have the biggest family, the greatest job, the world’s best partner or the largest box of cookies stashed away.

Perhaps the feeling lasts only a few minutes. Other times, a few years. Or perhaps several more years. You could be with dozens of people or live in a houseful of relatives, and yet still feel alone.

There was a point in college during a study abroad trip when I learned what it meant to feel lonely. It made no difference that I was surrounded by best friends and a thriving Spanish city. Or that I could indulge in tapas and beer every night. It was my mind against the world, and my mind was losing. I stayed up all night once to pray my loneliness would disappear in the morning. It didn’t.

Loneliness is no one’s fault. You can’t blame yourself, or your parents, or your relationship. You can’t blame God, or the universe, or some planet that’s in retrograde. Often times, there’s no single reason you can cross off the blackboard. But it will pass. And at some point, you can turn it around.

Different means work for different people. Here are a few things that turned me around in the months following my trip: I exercised more. Started a journal. Opened up. Ate healthier. Got out of the house. Took time alone (that’s not a typo). Remembered the world was with me. Cried. Laughed. Cried again. I quit surfing the Web for hours. I prayed. And then accepted prayers were not always answered on my terms. And I stopped waiting for something better.

Side note: neither ice cream nor vodka is a solution.

Finally, check out this beautifully written article on The Chalkboard. It will make you see the world differently today.