Alone. We’re born alone and we die alone. Or so I believe. In between we face a lot of challenges. Alone. Other people can help you. They can advise you. They can stand by and cheer you on. They can offer you love and hope, passion and compassion, warmth and camaraderie, but still we do the big tasks, alone. It’s no one’s fault. It’s just the way it is. We each have our own path and our own lessons. No one can do it for you. It’s kind of like jogging. If you want to reap the health benefits of jogging, you must go jogging. You. Yourself, alone. Nobody else, no matter how much they love you, can go jogging for you. They can go with you, but that is not the same thing. And for life’s final lesson no one can even go with you. You must go alone.
It’s ok by me. I learned a long time ago that being alone is not at all the same as being lonely, and that being lonely with someone is much worse than being lonely when you are, in fact, by yourself. Being lonely when you’re with someone is much more hopeless and desperate. When you are lonely while you are alone it is possible to believe that if you just go find some other people you will no longer feel that way. When you are lonely in the company of others you do not have the comfort of this illusion. It makes it harder. However, in truth we are alone. Entirely separate beings, unable to merge in any significant way with other beings. Alone.
I spend quite a bit of time by myself. Probably more than most people. I don’t seem to mind, at least I don’t leave my house and go in search of company. I used to, but I have learned to value my time alone and have begun to guard it a bit jealously. It is simpler to be by one’s self. Everything can be done to suit yourself. Compromise is unheard of. Selfishness is the order of the day. It’s not that I want to run off and become a hermit. I like hearing the sounds of other people, traffic passing on the road, the indistinct voices of the neighbors. I leave th tv on most days, although I tend to ignore its babble. Often the sound is turned down until I can’t quite make out what anyone is saying, just the dubious comfort of human voices.
For we humans are a social race. Despite any vanity about our independence and our individuality, it is in our very nature to huddle together, shielding one another from the great unknown and comforting those whose burdens are heavy. We chitter and chatter and scurry together as if the very mass of us will keep us safe, from what I do not know. I think it is important not to forget that if we never break free from one another, never venture by ourselves into the great alone, then we cannot soar. It takes a bit of space to spread our wings. Like baby birds, we must make that leap, alone.


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