I have been temporarily living on my own for over a fortnight, or as I refer to it ‘House Sitting For My Parents In The Place Where I Live’. As of today, I have two more weeks left. People have asked me if I have been lonely during this period. My response is ‘…no more than usual…’ In terms of a strict definition, loneliness is a condition I am rarely affected by, for I prefer my own company ahead of anyone. I have always things to do, whether it be reading a couple of books, watching a series of movies I have never seen before, trying to fix a particularly frustrating form of writer’s block, or listening to some great tunes. I have been able to take the phone off the hook and pretend the world has ended.
So I may not be ‘lonely’, but these past two weeks have emphasized that my life resembles a ubiquitous pop song. I’m about to tie up the last loose ends of the past 18 months, which has made me realize that I need someone to come home to, or at least be someone else’s first priority, I find myself going to bed earlier, just so I can tune out the white noise in my brain that suggests I’m getting too old for this shit, I can only take a certain amount of rejection with the facade of good grace. Yet at the same time, I look at the options I have, and a common theme emerges. People in their late 20s seem to want to travel as much as my brother and my ‘housemates’ do. They also want to participate in ‘outdoor activities and adventure’. If you asked me what my two least favourite things in the world are, they would be travel and outdoor adventures. I have been pondering whether I have to bend a little to meet the expectations of others, but then at what cost? I have to be happy and I have to be me.
Travelling through several countries with a variety of methods for weeks at a time is probably my worst nightmare. By now I could have travelled overseas with my own family about ten times now. Each time I have said no instantly because in my mind I have better things to do with my time in places where I feel comfortable. And yet that single conclusion has resulted in a revolving door of rejection for over a year now. What person in their late twenties doesn’t want to travel? Would rather spend a Friday Night curating their own film night rather than getting drunk? Would rather read a book and debate its thematic relevance than go for a bush walk?
Getting a positive answer for just one question let alone all of them seems impossible. That perhaps is the new definition for loneliness.