Crowded by loneliness


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Every morning while riding the train to work, I am surrounded by individuals attempting to remain solitary, anonymous, and oblivious. They listen to their IPOD’s and concentrate on their newspaper, book or cellphone conveniently ignoring the world around them. Possible soul mates, business partners, or any other kind of life changing relationships never begin because no one dares to speak to the person next to them. For some reason, beings who were once innately social have become… anti.

This behavior reminds me of when I was a younger man (chasing anything in a skirt). I always wondered how those women who enjoyed shutting down every man who approached them would end up. Would they be sitting alone one day in the future, with wine glass in hand, reflecting back on their prime years with sadness. Or would that unattainable attitude lore the man of their dreams and set them up for a Disney life? I would often ask my female friends with similar attitudes towards men, “Don’t you know the odds are not if your favor?” So far, none of them have story book lives but only time will tell.

Years later while working in Atlanta clubs, I began to notice that every club had its regulars. Weekend after weekend, and is some cases, night after night these folks go to the club, buy a ton of drinks, and more often than not leave alone. Did they really love the atmosphere, dancing and music that much or are they just lonely and looking for contact?

Now as I reflect back on the younger me, I realize that much like the women who were playing games and looking to be chased, I (the chaser) was playing the same silly game with my life. There’s old saying amongst dirty old men that goes, “If you can’t get a 10 get five 2’s.” Basically this means if you can’t find perfection, get several sub-par women to fill the emptiness.

Most of us do this without even knowing it. We surround ourselves with material possessions, fake friends, and/or meaningless accomplishments to fill voids in our life. We use these things to “self-medicate” our deeper issues, spiritual questions, and insecurities until we eventually “overdose.” Later in life we find that these thing no longer mask our problems and eventually we become overtaken by this emptiness.

Unfortunately, there isn’t an easy answer or magic pill. Life is a reflection of your experiences. Therefore if you change your experiences, you change your life. The major challenge is to pursue the perfect experience without assuming you already know what it is, how it should be, or who it should be with.

So… next time you’re on the train, at the coffee shop, or in any prime social location spark a conversation with no goal or intention in mind… it could change your life.

4 Replies to “Crowded by loneliness”

  1. UncleQuillis says:

    This article is on point my brother! So many of us walk through life without taking chances. Brothers and sisters need to allow themselves opportunities to be happy! You don’t need two 5’s if you give someone a chance!

  2. Jada says:

    This is so true. I’ve watched games alone, at a low-key bar. Looking around, there are 6 or 7 other people, interested in the same game, but only sharing their thoughts with whomever is on the other end of that text message. I miss random, meaningful conversations with strangers.

  3. BAnjeeB says:

    Recently I began taking notice of my behavior on the train and decided it had to change. Not because I envision some love at first sight fairy tale jumping off, but because a lot of people go through every day and aren’t really seen. If I can connect with someone by making eye contact, paying someone a compliment, saying good morning, smiling at a baby in a stroller, offering a tourist directions, or listening to the crazy guy tell me his conspiracy theory I feel like I’m making more of a contribution rather than just taking up space on the planet.

  4. […] with our availability or hide the “For Sale” sign like its a Scarlet Letter. In Crowded by Loneliness, I wrote about individuals wearing sunglasses and listening to their iPod in and attempt to remain […]

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