On Solitude and Loneliness

Some months back, I asked the following question on my social networks:

“For those of you who, more often than not, feel lonely, what are the main causes for that same feeling?

Needless to say I’m one of those people. 

If I look back, really back, I feel I’ve always felt lonely throughout my life. I grew up under an overprotective  household, where I couldn’t really go out and play, and the only real contact with friends were the very few I was fortunate enough to have come over (I’m such a walking and talking stereotype for a geek software engineer).

All this made me want to create stories, narratives, epic adventures of my own fantasy worlds, as they were my only escape from a very lonely existence. I could be whatever I wanted and do just that. I could be free from the shackles of my incarcerated upbringing.

Gosh, that was harsh…

I tend to see my 20s as my first true teenage years. My early teens were not what I would qualify as a great time. Emotional abuse, deteriorating mental health and a few other darker moments I will not expand this time. Leaving home at eighteen was the best decision I ever made for my personal growth. For the first time I had full control of my surroundings and was the sole gatekeeper of the external vectors of influence I would let in.

One of the strongest references I have about friendships happened during a Tiamat+Samael show, back in the late 90s, where a group of friends displayed one of the most grounded and nurturing friendship moments I ever saw in my life. I fear I cannot find the proper words to describe it – which kind of sucks as the purpose of writing is to convey ideas and thoughts – so you’ll have to take my words (and underlying emotion) for it.

Ever since that moment, I’ve tried to find that for myself. I feel I’ve had that for brief moments in life, but then “things”/”life” happened and it was back to square one. One of the most cohesive groups I was ever a part of ended up completely destroyed, as two of the persons in the group developed a quite intimate relationship while one of them was still in another relationship with someone else from the group. Not cool!

Fast forwarding to my 40s and my continuous existential crisis on friendship (I almost ended up writing Crysis 🤦), I feel very lonely. It’s not like I don’t have a lot of people around me in one way or another, but the feeling, unfortunately, persists. My training as an engineer made me want to try to bugfix this, and since StackOverflow has nothing on loneliness, I asked to a broader audience and got these as some of the answers:

  • “I am lonely because of me”
  • “Frequent international relocations”
  • “Autism”
  • “Lack of feeling blended in”

With the exception of the relocation part, I interpret the above as a cry for the feeling of belonging, finding one’s tribe, being in a place with our peers, where people support and nurture each other, and also understand your pain and your struggles, as they’ve also been subject to those same trials, a Shangri-La of personal growth – now that would be something.

More often than not I’ve had to look for that myself, embark on a massive quest for (also self) discovery of my next party companions. Sucks not being in that fabled, proverbial Inn, where it’s so easy to kickstart an adventure, where our hero’s journey continuously, and perpetually, finds both solace and excitement, where every daunting moment is a catalyst for future bliss.

Potentially, age doesn’t help. I find it quite odd that a lot of people my age or even younger seem to have given up on life. Just as if their twenty-year-old zenith would dictate the crystallized future of their existence. I don’t know what happens to people to just give up, obey and conform. No sir, I do not go gentle into that good night, and nor should you. Life (as we know it) ends only when you’re dead. No bets are off until that happens. You are still the master of your ship.

So what now? What’s next? 

Work continues on the insurmountable epic of understanding the human psyche. The only possible path is to continue to debug and test my hypothesis. Ticket is still open so I guess we’ll have to discuss it again during the next retrospective.

But as the future unfolds I can only think of how much I truly long for that place where loneliness is no more.

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