Many of us will go through a period of loneliness or with struggling to be alone at different periods of our lives, but as you enter the slippery amusement park that is your twenties which truly gives you more terror than amusement, it is an affliction which is all too prolific. SO, if you find yourself in this twisted Alton Towers decade of your life, and feel that more and more Deaf Havana lyrics relate to you on a concerning level, then straddle in, this is the place for you! Because here is my brief guide to being okay with being alone, especially in your twenties, with a little more sarcasm and saltiness than other guides like these!
- The Epiphany(ies)
First off, you may have one large epiphany or, like me, just a series of slow-burning realisations that really make no sense to have taken so long to surface! Either way, they will come. You may be staring at your bedroom ceiling crying at the fact you used to wear chinos or again, in my case, a red leather jacket with a flame on the back of it (ew). You may be in the middle of a university classroom, you may be serving groceries to a moody old cow that won’t stop telling you how bad immigration has gotten. Heck, at this age, you’re probably just on the shitter. But those cogs in your brain will have been working their magic, after applying a bit of WD40 to the area that seemed to die when you trusted all those snakes in your life. They will begin to lift you from the veritable denoument of your young life and bring you into a little bit of common sense.
Listen to them.
Of course, listen to them, is a little broad shall we say and by ‘them’ I mean the actual helpful realisations and not just some dodgy paranoid bitterness that whispers in your ear to slap the shit out of everyone that did you dirty. You’ll know when they’re helpful because they’ll be hard to accept and you’ll want to reject them but the next stage is how you deal with that …
2. Get Your Definitions Straight
“But you have so many friends – how can you be LONELY”
“But you have a loving family! – how can you be LONELY”
“Just get in a relationship – then you’ll NEVER be LONELY”
Here are just a few phrases you may hear when consulting with other people about feeling lonely, they may be said to comfort you and in some ways might do but in many ways are misinformed. All of us seem to forget just how different the words ‘Alone’ and ‘Lonely’ can be interpreted. For some reason, almost everyone in the modern world when you describe yourself as feeling lonely likes to assume you’ve just gone through a breakup, or that you’re craving to be in a relationship. No, not true. A lot of the time, feeling lonely or alone comes from an inability to just be in your own presence; a dependency on others essentially.
Chances are you’ve built up a disliking for your own company, or have spent so much time in a social circle – naturally, you don’t leave each other’s sides as teenagers – and now don’t know what to do with yourself other than feel utterly shitty. But that’s fine! Once you know that it’s less to do with having another person next to you and more to do with being fine with your own company, then the next stage is just to…
As dramatic and morbid as it sounds to ‘Mourn’, you’ll be at that stage of your life where nostalgia is just as frequent as people asking what the fuck you’re doing with your life, and your back becomes randomly as weak as your tolerance for the alcohol you used to be able to chug in seconds. It’s a weird time, you should be allowed to mourn the even younger times and the times that we have a weird and completely misinformed affinity for calling ‘Simpler’. It is like mourning a life, so mourn. How? That’s up to you. I’m still a little alternative emo dressed in a fairly well spoken nerdy exterior so my natural go to is to fall into a state of melancholy and indulge in alternative rock music and screamo. There’s something about feeling alone and then letting your heart get its hands on more sadness and solitude that is oddly healing, but in moderation obviously.
Here are a few of my particular favourite songs to listen to, in general, but especially in this ‘mourning’ phase:
- Deaf Havana – These Past Six Years
- Paramore – Ignorance
- Pierce The Veil ft Jeremy McKinnon – Caraphernalia
- (Just because its sassy as hell) Jasmine Sullivan – Bust Your Windows
Just don’t do all that for too long! I mean feel free to listen to the songs just not as a method of self-pity because trust me, at this stage, self-pity is the quickest method to self-destruction and you don’t need that!
So you’ve had your epiphany, you’ve figured out you’re lonely but not necessarily craving a relationship, and you’ve mourned over your school days and the days you didn’t NEED to be alone so often. What next?
4. Introduce Yourself… to yourself.
BASICALLY, get good at being alone. Now that you’ve already realised its harder to avoid being alone, and that you’re not very good at it, GET GOOD AT IT. There is nothing like throwing yourself out of the bubble wrap sheltering that is the comfort zone, to speed your recovery. Some of the best ways to be okay with being alone, and to introduce yourself to yourself are exploring, being creative, moving out, reading, redesigning your bedroom etc.
Perhaps the worst lie you can tell yourself is that there is nothing to do when you’re alone. There is always SOMETHING you can do and always SOMETHING you can learn. For me, I’m a writer and a filmmaker so I find it a little easier because I will find ways to write poetry or write a blog post (although I’ve been quite bad at that recently – sorry guys!) or read! But it doesn’t just have to be something creative, just find out what you like to do and, do it! One of the best parts of being this age and being in this confusing rehearsal period is that it involves a lot of experimenting, a change in style, a change in look, a change in your morals and your beliefs. Just force yourself not to pick up your phone or laptop everytime you feel bored or a little lonely, trust in yourself and find something you can do with your own company and do it.
Here is where I’ll wrap up. Understand why you’re doing this. You’re not accepting that you’re #foreveralone or forever a #singlepringle or any other of the depressive millennial hashtags of recent years, that I have totally added to. You’re not rebelling against a betrayal, or a failed friendship, or a bad record with dating. You’re doing this because being alone is a fundamental part of being a human, and with friends, with family, with love, nothing is going to make you a stronger person than you already are than being able to be alone.
Eat well. Sleep well. Drink Well. Care for your mental health.
Read You Do You by Sarah Knight, shit talk the snakes for a bit, sassily lip sync to headstrong hip hop divas and then move on and learn to be the only person in this world you wholly DEPEND on. Don’t try to be better than anyone else. Don’t try to wish bad on others. Just grow for your own sake and nothing more.