Sunday, March 31, 2013

Alone or Lonely

It seems like the words alone and lonely are interchangeable, but they are not.

We strive for human connection.  We want to be in physical proximity to other humans, usually of the opposite gender.  We want the emotional connection, conversational connection, being-in-the-same-room connection.  Sometimes we want to share emotional intimacy and physical intimacy.  We are lonely when we don’t have a certain amount of those forms of connection.

We can be surrounded by people (and not alone), yet be very lonely.

Being alone can be a positive state of mind.  If we are comfortable with ourselves, we like being in a room or home with nobody else in our space.  We seek balance between being alone and being in the presence of another being.  If we have emotional connections with people, we are often satisfied that we are not alone, just a little lonely.

This thought all started with a text conversation with a friend who lives 500 miles away about not having someone in our respective towns to be with us when we don’t feel good.  That made me realize that for all the people I know in the area where I’ve lived for nearly thirty years, I have not one single person I can call and ask to come over and just sit with me when I feel bad.  Or give me a ride to a doctor’s office.  How the hell did that happen? What I do have, fortunately, is a friend I can text when I need some kind of emotional support or encouragement … specifically that female friend I was texting with.  I am lucky to have two such friends, but the other one lives even further away.

For all the connections Americans now have with social media, especially Facebook, we are also a very disconnected society.  We are so busy that we often don’t have time to develop the kind of friendships we had in our youth.  We move from address to address and never really get to know our neighbors.  We might work in a lively setting full of people but our primary connection with them is work and we go home alone.

It might also seem at times that everybody-but-us gets paired up.  Our single friends get married or partnered and they don’t have as much time for us as they used to.  Or we get into a relationship and don’t have time for our friends who aren’t in one.  Those of us over the dreaded age of 50 have fewer single friends and if we are single we feel out of place in a party of three.  In my case I was married to someone who wasn’t very social (she seemed to be when we were dating but that changed almost on the very day we got married), so we didn’t develop ‘couples friends’.

I know I seem like I’m whining about being alone.  It’s Easter Sunday, a day that takes me on a happy memory journey to my youth, and I’m sitting at my computer alone, feeling a little lonely. 

But I am alone by choice.  If I had not moved, today would be like the last seven or eight Easters … twenty minutes of taking pictures of the dogs with funny costumes, followed by arguing about house projects or disagreeing about wall colors, food, people or money.

I do want to live alone but I do not want to be lonely.  I will not seek random, physical hook-ups to satisfy the immediate desire for connection (as tempting as that is).  But I will do what I can to develop more meaningful local friendships.  The goal: to be alone but not lonely.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Odds and Ends and Middles

A co-worker had a colonoscopy last week and two of my closest friends had colonoscopies this week.  And isn’t it a full moon this week?  Odd.  Everyone is OK, by the way.

I woke up to a breaking news story about a landslide in Whidbey Island WA.  A cousin has a place there.  I emailed, she emailed back a little later … fortunately their place wasn’t affected.

Facebook was the home of uninformed, extreme candidate bashing during the election.  Now it’s the home of uninformed, extreme bashing of those who won, especially the President, and many issues, especially gun control and gay marriage.  This topic will be its own blog post here soon, but for now let me just say this … don’t use extreme right or extreme left websites as a source.  And for God’s sake, don’t use Fox notreallyNews Network!  Or Rush, who is celebrating 25 years of bullshit this month.

Great line in a song from back in the day: “Oh we’re never gonna survive unless … we get a little crazy.”

Back to Fox for a minute … I surprisingly stumbled onto something I actually agreed with the other day as I surfed past and briefly landed on that horrible channel.  It was a discussion about a school in the South that stopped using the word Easter in reference to the Easter Bunny.  WTF?!!  Freedom of religion does not mean ignore religion, it means be inclusive of many religions.  And honestly, Easter is another one of those celebrations that is both religious and secular, simultaneously.  The bunny has nothing to do with the Guy who rose from the dead.  We can call it the Easter Bunny without infringing on anybody’s rights.  Chag Sameach.  Shalom.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Friend Quotes, just because ...

Good books, like good friends, are few and chosen; the more select, the more enjoyable.
Louisa May Alcott

There comes a point in your life when you realize who really matters, who never did, and who always will.
- Unknown

"If you're alone, I'll be your shadow. If you want to cry, I'll be your shoulder. If you want a hug, I'll be your pillow. If you need to be happy, I'll be your smile... But anytime you need a friend, I'll just be me."
- Unknown

Friendship isn't about whom you have known the longest... It's about who came, and never left your side...
- Unknown

Anyone can make you smile or cry
But it takes someone special to make you smile
When you already have tears in your eyes
- Unknown

A good friend helps you up when you fall. A best friend pees their pants laughing, trips you again, and calls you an a**hole.
- Unknown

You can always tell when
two people are best friends
because they're always having
way more fun than it makes
sense for them to be having
- Unknown

Sunday, March 24, 2013

I Don’t Understand Them or I Don’t Understand Me

I am curious about people, I study them and their behavior, I ask a lot of questions and I want answers to my questions even if I don’t like the answers. 

I think I create an atmosphere of trust and comfort in which people can tell me personal things and not feel they are judged for their behavior.  But maybe I don’t.

A few posts ago I told the story of a female friend who I occasionally socialized with who ‘unfriended’ me on Facebook after I suggested a ‘date’.  She said ‘no dating’, I said ‘no problem’; instead of acknowledging that, she cut off our main form of communication.  Did she think she couldn’t face me?  Did she think I didn’t mean it when I said not dating was not a problem?  Am I creepy or repulsive?  The initial invitation that set this all up was accepted at first, till she realized I was thinking ‘date’.  So until that moment, she wasn’t avoiding me.  And I thought I made it clear that I was OK with ‘not dating’ but still wanted to hang out occasionally as we had done.  No response.  Unfriended.  Geez.  Bullshit and drama.

So it might have happened again.

A female friend who I occasionally hang out with accepted an invitation to a small gathering at my apartment, one in which she knew the other people who would be here.  The party was yesterday, the invitation was Tuesday a few days before.  I didn’t say ‘date’ when I asked her but it probably seemed like a date.  But she said yes.  And a couple of years ago when I was not in a position to ‘date’ she seemed to open the door to that possibility if I did become available.  I invited her Tuesday night as we were leaving a work-related meeting we both attended, she said yes and asked me to text her my address.  Next morning I texted her but didn’t hear back the rest of the week.  I texted her again at Noon yesterday to update her on who was coming.  No response, other than the little iPhone notation that she “read message at 3:30”.  The party came and went with no further response and she didn’t show up.  I texted her again this morning asking what happened.  No response four hours later.  By the way, I sometimes text her at her work and she always gets right back to me.

So what does this all mean?  Is she avoiding me?  Is her phone broken?  Did she get in an accident and is now in the hospital? Am I creepy or repulsive?  Should I be calling instead of texting?  Let me point out that she is a lot easier to reach by text than by voice.  

I am pissed!  Why?  NOT because either of these women might not want to ‘date’ me, NOT because they didn’t come to my party.  I am pissed because they did the one thing I cannot stand … they ignored me.  Friends don’t ignore friends.  At least not in my world.  So maybe we weren’t really friends to begin with.  Maybe something did happen to her and I don’t know about it yet.

Maybe she changed her mind and was embarrassed to tell me.  I’d have trouble with that one.  She is NOT the shy, retiring type of person.  She has a very public job and is not the least bit shy about expressing an opinion.

Back to the title of this post.  I don’t understand them … women.  Or at least not these two women.  OR maybe I don’t understand me … something about me that results in this behavior from them.  Maybe I don’t create the comfort zone I think I do.  Hard to believe that, however, because I can name at least five female friends who are comfortable enough around me to tell me just about anything.  They trust me and feel comfortable revealing things to me.  Hmmm, I’m not trying to date them; maybe that’s the difference.  I don’t understand.

Friday, March 22, 2013


My logical side says that astrology as an indicator of personality characteristics cannot be true.  My personal experiences suggest otherwise.  I am referring to well thought out sign-based write-ups, not the daily horoscopes.

I recently saw a sign-by-sign write up that phrased things a bit differently than most of what I had seen before.  Funny that three of the signs I have the most positive feelings about had the most ‘accurate’ descriptions.  This is not a slight against other zodiac signs; about 75% of each of these just happen to fit so many people I know who were born in the range of dates associated with these signs.

Enjoy.  I am Aquarius, by the way.

AQUARIUS - Does It in the Water (January 20 to February 18)
Trustworthy. Attractive. Great kisser. One of a kind. Loves being in long-term relationships. Tries hard. Will take on any project. Proud of themselves in whatever they do. Messy and unorganized. Procrastinators. Great lovers, when they're not sleeping. Extreme thinkers. Loves their pets usually more than their family. Can be VERY irritating to others when they try to explain or tell a story. Unpredictable. Will exceed your expectations. Not a fighter, but will knock your lights out.

SAGITTARIUS - The Promiscuous One (November 22 to December 21)
Spontaneous. High appeal. Rare to find. Great when found. Loves being in long relationships. So much love to give. A loner most of the time. Loses patience easily and will not take crap. If in a bad mood stay FAR away. Gets offended easily and remembers the offense forever. Loves deeply but at times will not show it, feels it is a sign of weakness. Has many fears but will not show it. VERY private person. Defends loved ones with all their abilities. Can be childish often. Not one to mess with. Very pretty. Very romantic. Nice to everyone they meet. Their Love is one of a kind. Silly, fun and sweet. Have own unique appeal. Most caring person you will ever meet! Amazing in bed!!! Not the kind of person you want to mess with- you might end up crying.

PISCES - The Partner for Life (February 19 to March 20)
Caring and kind. Smart. Likes to be the center of attention. Very organized. High appeal to opposite sex. Likes to have the last word. Good to find, but hard to keep. Passionate, wonderful lovers. Fun to be around. Too trusting at times and gets hurt easily. VERY caring. They always try to do the right thing and sometimes get the short end of the stick. They sometimes get used by others and get hurt because of their trusting. Extremely weird but in a good way. Good sense of humor!! Thoughtful. Loves to joke. Very popular. Silly, fun and sweet. Good friend to others but needs to be choosy on who they allow their friends to be.