When I think of someone all alone, I immediately think of a homeless person on the street. I vividly see one man in particular that I saw the other day. I also vividly see a couple of homeless kids from when I did street outreach. However, when I look more closely, very few are alone. They have a community of people surrounding them who help them survive.
There are individuals in every community who feel and/or chose to be alone. I was very surprised to discover that many married people with families feel alone. They have family, are connected to someone or a group of people, in yet they feel alone – totally, utterly, alone. Then I think of people on the streets of New York. There are thousands of people walking alongside them or crossing their path in one form or another. In yet, the feeling of isolation can be profound. You can be of any socioeconomic class and feel alone or have a sense of community. It is all a choice. It might not seem to be a choice, but when it comes down to it, it is a choice. It might not start as a choice, but it becomes a choice once you acknowledge the feeling of being alone.
I am surrounded by people. People I know, and those I don’t. People in a virtual world who I may or may not have met in person as well as those I have met in person while living in my current location. There are friends I drive to meet when I go “home,” and people I come across while walking along the street.
I can choose to feel connected by people – people I know or have never met before. Or, I can feel in isolation. Most often, I chose to feel isolated while reaching out to others in friendly caring. When I need a hug, I just walk down to Farrelli’s and they kindly reciprocate the need for a hug. It’s a wonderful feeling to feel connected while still feeling disconnected. It’s all a choice.
You can also choose your family. It might be biological, it might be friends or acquaintances. However, your family is a choice. Biologically, family is determined, but who you connect with to feel as family is a choice.
Friends and family can be acquired through reaching out or through allowing others to reach out to you. I allow this to happen, but I’m also choosing to feel alone. Perhaps it is a coping mechanism. Perhaps it assists me in moving on to the next location without the feel of uprooting everything and leaving everyone. However, even though I’ve attempted to keep an emotional distance, my attempt has failed.
I am attached to community members around me. The attendees at the improv class, the waitstaff and bar manager of Farrelli’s, the maintenance guys and office personnel of my apartment complex, the people I have come to appreciate at Olympia Friends Meeting. Once again, I will be leaving a location and opportunity to be in relatively close proximity of biological family. I will be leaving a community that I absolutely love – the best community I have ever lived in. However, I have reached my goals; the goals of building a sense of community – albeit with high reservations – and reuniting with family have been attained. It’s time to dream and achieve new ones. It’d be wonderful if it happened in this community. However, I must be willing to go anywhere.
You are not alone. I am not alone. Let’s reach out and connect.