Wednesday, April 20, 2016


Loneliness is one of the hardest things. I have friends I talk to everyday, but it’s not like someone being here with you. I knew when I moved to Vermont I would be lonely this far from home, but I thought I could handle it. I know I will deal with it, but it still brings on a major sadness.

When I first moved to Mississippi in 2000 for graduate school, I was lonely then too, but that loneliness lasted only from the time I moved until classes started. I quickly found friends and had people to hang out with on a regular basis.  Yes, there were still lonely times, but I handled it because I knew my friends were close by.

Here, it is different. I have friends at work. But beyond work, they have families and I understand that. They have their own lives and their own things to do. While l enjoy living close to the museum, I’ve considered moving to a more active town. I could live in Burlington and have an hour drive to work, or I could live in Montpelier which is only 15 minutes away. 

I don’t think those moves would actually relieve my loneliness though. Plus, it would mean driving more each day, something I don’t want to do. You see, when I first moved to Mississippi, driving alleviated some of my loneliness. It took my mind off of being lonely. Driving doesn't have the same relief it used to have. 

When my friend died in a car wreck, driving long distances especially in Vermont where nearly all roads are through mountainous terrain, my anxiety rises considerably. I’ve tried driving around on Saturdays or Sundays, but at some point the anxiety usually strikes. Its severity is lessening over time, though, as I try to face my fears.

I know people are going to suggest I join some organization or another and meet new people. That however, is easier said than done. I am a shy person. It takes me time to warm up to people. That makes people think I am standoffish. I get nervous and I try, but I’m just not very good with people I don't know.

When you are single, I guess loneliness is part of life. It will get better as I get used to being alone again. Honestly, I just wish I could go home more than once a year. It might also help if I had my cats with me. At least my cats would provide me with some companionship.

In the immortal words of Britney Spears:

My loneliness is killing me (and I)
I must confess, I still believe (still believe)
When I'm not with you I lose my mind
Give me a sign
Hit me, baby, one more time


Anonymous said...

Though I have been lonely when I lived in Chicago, Boston & Philadelphia, it seemed that living in rural New England was the loneliest time. New Englanders are difficult to know for this transplanted Southerner. When I lived in small town New Hampshire I found that the harsh winter affected socialization with people with people "hunkering down" at home for months. And yes, I am shy too. The solution to your loneliness is in your hands and none other. If there are no groups to join in your area, create one! lets you create a group. Put yourself out there. Believe me, there are many lonely people in rural New England.

Michael Dodd said...

1) Write that book!
2) At least once a week, invite a friend out for coffee. Or better yet, over to your place for coffee or (depending on your facilities) a simple meal.
3) Since you are a G-d-seeker, spend fifteen minutes thanking your G-d for sending you the gift of loneliness. Be very specific about how it is a gift.
4) Try a Zen exercise: When you are feeling lonely, observe the feeling. Don't analyze, just observe. Does it have physical manifestations? Does loneliness make you hungry, angry, tired? Does it reside in your shoulders, your stomach, the nape of your neck?
5) And, of course, you may be geographically alone, but through your blog you are with friends every day. And we, in our comments and in our shared and unshared thoughts, we are with you. I totally get that it is not the same! But it is part of the gift.
6) Get a job in Madison, WI and I will hang out with you daily. It's a great little place. How do you feel about Indian food?

Michael Dodd said...

Addendum to my previous post:
I have a bad habit of giving advice when none was requested! Sometimes this sounds like I am speaking (or think I am speaking) from a position of arrogance and sublime superiority. I apologize for that. Too many years of "ministry" sometimes renders me most unhelpful.

I do take your situation seriously and can empathize. I know it is not easy to be shy and to find oneself alone.

The first year I was at university, I had many friends and enjoyed life. But one of my hometown friends, when he came for a visit toward the end of freshman year, told me that he wondered if I were lonely. I was surprised, but he pointed out that I wrote people back "home" constantly, reminisced a great deal about high school and so on. He said, "I bet you are still in Huntsville in your [sleeping] dreams, aren't you?"

I realized that when I was in Texas, I talked about Michigan. In Michigan, I talked about Texas. I was seldom where I was when I was there.

I took me a year to stop dreaming [at night] about THERE and starting to dream about HERE.

It's okay.

Anonymous said...

I share your difficulty in making friends, so I understand your distress. One suggestion. You have two cats back home. But the one is not movable and the second probably not so. Get a kitten for company right now. Those little balls of fur are wonderful.

The Academic

mistress maddie said...

I went through the same when my long term relationship ended and most of our friends moved. Luckily I live in a very social town. We have many pubs and a lovely gay resort to frequent. Not that I go out alot, but it gave a a ground zero to start meeting people. I also date two guys so I also got to know there circle as well. While I do have friends all around, I still do though enjoy my own time to myself too. I assume your in a very rural area?? That can be hard. My friends who live in Philly, when they visit, always say there heading to the country for the weekend. I love where I live, and won't give up the beauty.

Anonymous said...

Write to one of us personally. I'm sure there is someone including myself that is willing to exchange email with you. It's much more personal than writing a blog and getting some one-way feedback. Or at least I find writing or talking with someone on a personal level each day is much more uplifting than simply writing to unknowns. If you don't feel comfortable with the idea then don't worry about it. Take care!