65 Days ’til 40: Alone vs. Lonely

18 Dec


I restore myself when I’m alone. ~ Marilyn Monroe

I think it’s good for a person to spend time alone. It gives them an opportunity to discover who they are and to figure out why they are always alone. ~ Amy Sedaris
The trouble is not really in being alone, it’s being lonely. One can be lonely in the midst of a crowd, don’t you think? ~ Christine Feehan
It is strange to be known so universally and yet to be so lonely. ~ Albert Einstein
Yes, I guess you could say I am a loner, but I feel more lonely in a crowded room with boring people than I feel on my own. ~ Henry Rollins

The most terrible poverty is loneliness, and the feeling of being unloved. ~ Mother Teresa

I have often thought about the differences between being alone and being lonely.  I LOVE being alone.  I am an introvert at heart and I MUST have my downtime in complete quiet and silence in order to be able to refuel so that I have the energy to devote to my job and family.  Without this “alone” time, I would crumble under the pressure (well, maybe not crumble, but I definitely would not be a happy camper.)  For me, “alone time” is a gift – it is so wonderful to have those moments when I am able to crawl into my warm bed with a good book and read.  I love having those moments to myself, as I slip in and out of sleep, loving the peace and quiet.
For me, lonely has a very different definition.  I can crave alone time, but still worry about being lonely.  The feeling of loneliness if a feeling that a person is not connected with the world they live in… not connected with the people who surround them.  Earlier in the year I wrote about visiting a place of worship where I was told to go sit (alone) in the kids toy room because my (then) two-year-old was making too much noise.  As I had entered this place of worship to try to find friends and community, this was devastating.  I never felt more alone in my life than that day when I wanted to be with people, and they sent me to the playroom – where there was not a single mother or child present other than my daughter and I.  I stayed there for a few moments and walked out of that house of worship – vowing never to return.  I was more lonely there, next to the room of people I had hoped to connect with, than I would have been curled up in my own bed, alone.
Alone time is a good thing, particularly for introverts, being lonely can be depressing and scary.  If you are feeling lonely, it is important to reach out and work to join support networks in your area.  If you are in need of being alone, I am sure you also fantasize about barricading yourself in a room for  a weekend and enjoying the peace and quiet.
Today 65 days ’til 40, I am thankful for the alone times in my life – I am also thankful how many people have come into m life in the past ten years and taken away my loneliness!

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25 responses to “65 Days ’til 40: Alone vs. Lonely

  1. basildonkitchens

    December 18, 2012 at 01:06

    Well said! Did you peek into my mind?

  2. silverbells2012

    December 18, 2012 at 01:20

    I’m glad you have found people to connect with – that is something we all need whether we are introvert or extrovert. And extroversion I think is more to do with taste in entertainment and tolerance of chaos.

    • 400daystil40

      December 18, 2012 at 22:45

      Yes, definitely! I never thought of extroversion as tolerance of chaos before!!! 🙂

  3. walkwiththerabbi

    December 18, 2012 at 01:22

    Interesting! I too crave moments of being alone. That’s when I’m at my best creatively. It truly “restores my soul.” As to the so-called “house of worship,” what an enormous loss they experienced that day – you!!! I appreciate you so much!!!

    • 400daystil40

      December 18, 2012 at 22:44

      I am also most creative when I am alone!

  4. beverlydyer

    December 18, 2012 at 02:43

    I also crave alone time! Time to be creative…let my muse play! Too much time spent having other people’s needs drain you leads to loneliness. I love to be alone in nature, allowing the rhythm of the natural world heal my spirit!!

    • 400daystil40

      December 18, 2012 at 22:44

      Yes, I am also very creative when alone! Very good point about people draining you being a part of the realities of loneliness!

  5. deWriterMD

    December 18, 2012 at 04:14

    Reblogged this on MetaRead360 Small Press presents and commented:
    NOTE: I’ve written about this myself…very apt!

  6. buckwheatsrisk

    December 18, 2012 at 05:04

    i love being alone, too much. 🙂

  7. Victoria Oldham

    December 18, 2012 at 18:03

    A wonderful distinction. Only with age have I become okay with being alone, happy with my own company. Lonely rarely rears its head these days, and that’s because, as you said, I’ve intentionally and willfully made connections outside my home.

    • 400daystil40

      December 18, 2012 at 22:42

      Yes, it does seem to be easier with age!

  8. SkiDaddy

    December 18, 2012 at 21:26

    I couldn’t agree more. I am also an introvert and although I thoroughly enjoy my own company there are times when I need the presence of others, if not to converse with at least to share space with. Sometimes just being in the same home with someone, without speaking, is enough.
    We are social creatures for the most part, it stands to reason the need for companionship is necessary to some degree. It’s that degree that may differ between us.

    • 400daystil40

      December 18, 2012 at 22:41

      Yes, I agree – sometimes it is wonderful to be able to be with someone without any demands (just being in the same space).

  9. Another Thousand Words

    December 19, 2012 at 03:59

    Fine post, 400! I prefer to be alone, doing my work, whether it’s housework, art, photography…but never do I feel lonely. Perhaps it’s the inner conversations I have with myself…chiding myself to get up and out, congratulating myself when I’ve done the job well, or just saying aloud, “Thank you for the wonderful day!”.

    • 400daystil40

      December 19, 2012 at 23:13

      Thank you so much! I have many inner conversations when alone, which I like as it helps me to process daily life…

  10. The Quiet Borderline (back in hospital)

    December 20, 2012 at 22:39

    Trying to strike this balance as well. I like alone time but I know that too much is really bad for me. But I try to be around people and I find it very tough. On we go 😉

    • 400daystil40

      December 23, 2012 at 00:19

      Yes, I agree completely. It is very hard to find that balance… I tend to err on the alone side of the coin, which is not necessarily the right way for me to err…

  11. Arman

    December 25, 2012 at 19:54

    I crave alone time but I don’t particularly like being lonely. Given that I live alone people actually find it quite funny when I say that I want some time ‘alone’. You explained the difference so beautifully!!!!!


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