I’ve been lonely all of my life.
When I was a younger man it almost drove me completely mad. Because I think my loneliness was tied in with the sexual component — this relentless drive to find my female half that would supposedly complete me. The Soul Mate. The fabled Girl Friend of Your Dreams.
As I became an older man, I learned to live with it, make peace with it, and accept it — or at least not be destroyed by it. That I was basically alone. And always would be alone. It’s such a constant in my life now, loneliness, that I barely even notice it anymore. Like “the fish who isn’t aware of the water.” . . . Except for those moments where I suddenly think: “Wow. I’m really all alone. Where did all my friends go to?”
I realized over the years that I was basically just a loner by nature. A recluse. Someone who mostly wasn’t comfortable in the presence of other people. Someone who sat in the back of the room with his back to the wall and sat there by himself watching the doings of the rest of humanity from a safe distance.
When I was younger I made a concerted attempt at developing friendships and lovers and connecting with other people. But basically I was piss-poor at it. And I often ended up damaging the people I tried to get close to because of this scathing and anti-social aspect at the heart of my character. “You always hurt the ones you love.” That bit.
So ultimately I gave up even trying to get close to other people and having deep and meaningful relationships with others. It was best if I just kept it casual. I could put up this facade of bland, congenial friendliness with most of the people I met. And I could even muster a bit of “charm” — I could come across as witty and entertaining (like a Show Biz phony in a way) — and I was an “interesting” person in many ways. So I could always draw people to me if I wanted to. But I just never knew what to do with them after I had drawn them to me. Because of my poor relationship skills.
So now I mostly sit by myself every night. Nursing my beer and nursing my wounded soul. I concluded I was a toxic person in many ways. So maybe it was for the best that I quarantined myself away from the rest of humanity.
A person can die from loneliness. A person can die from a broken heart. But you can learn to live with it, too. In a way, we’re born alone, we live alone, and we die alone. And you can make peace with that. In the end, when you die, all you really take with you is your soul. In the end you have your soul, that essence of yourself that you really can’t share with anybody but yourself.
I do get along well with my feral cats. So at least there’s that.