Being capable of foresight now, I realize that in hindsight, I was never really lonely; at least not in the way I define loneliness. I equate loneliness with enduring sadness and despair and a deep aching for a meaningful connection with another.
To me, there’s a difference between being lonely and being alone which is what I was. It’s a state of existence that does not necessarily involve emotion. Being alone for me was never coming first to anyone, be it family or friends. I imagine this sounds harsh and ungrateful, but I’m not complaining, just stating facts. It was not that I wasn’t loved, but I knew that if push ever came to shove and a choice had to be made, there wouldn’t have been anyone remaining beside me.
There really was nothing to be resentful, angry or even sad about the seeming unfairness of it all. It was just the way things were and it went on long enough for it to become second nature, implicit even. And to an extent it even had it’s uses as a shield that prevented hurt from intruding. I was securely closed off, believing I didn’t need anyone to get by. I suppose I thought it was admirable since it took strength to be alone without realizing that it takes even greater strength and courage to take a gamble at trusting someone else. The other thing I’ve come to realize now is that loneliness is not a choice, but you can always choose to remain alone regardless of whether you are or not.
There were the occasions when the solitariness would overwhelm me, but looking back it was probably more self-pity than the very real pain of loneliness. So drifting along like that, it became an acceptable way to live and a not too terrible one either.
Now that I’m technically not alone anymore, the irony is that loneliness has become an absolute surety in some possible endings of a future that fortunately can’t be predicted. As scary as it sounds, it is the result of a gamble built on trust and there are no regrets to be had even when in pessimism the consequences are dire.