Confession time. Chasing the dream can feel lonely. Sometimes I'm anxious, worried, doubtful, and scared, hoping someone would hold me and assure me it's going to turn out okay. Then I share my dream to others, either getting an indifferent "Cool" or a cold, fat nothing. It can be disappointing, I must admit. But here's another confession for you. I'm okay with feeling lonely.
There are two types of "lonely".
The first type of lonely is what I have described above. You give a high priority to your dream instead of the non-essentials. Every second, minute, hour, and day, you obsess about it making sure every action you take gets you one step closer to your dream's attainment. Your late night hours are spent reading, studying, or writing your manuscript over The Walking Dead, Facebook, and YouTube. You devote your weekends meeting people who can help you advance your career instead of hanging out with your friends to gossip. You ignore the ultimate temptation of pizza (with lots of pepperoni) to make friends with broccoli and lean meat.
People you know look at you as if you're crazy:
"Oh dear you haven't seen the latest episode of The Walking Dead yet?"
"Did you see my Facebook post? It has a hundred likes and a gazillion comments already."
"We had a great time without you. You sure missed out big time."
"Pizza is yummy. Pizza with lots of pepperoni is super delicious."
You smile, say something like "Cool!", and return to working on your manuscript, writing an email follow up to that someone important, or eating your broccoli (because broccoli is healthy, yummy, and super delicious too). Then you realise you're alone. They don't join you because what you're doing is not fun. On the other hand, seeking attention on Facebook and gossiping about other people are fun and important. And yes, don't forget the pizza (because pizza is yummy and lots of pepperoni is super delicious). Unless what you're doing satisfies people's need for instant gratification, be prepared to being alone.
Levi Weaver took the words right out of my (pizza-starved) mouth in describing and reacting to that situation. "We live in a society where something needs to 'come of it' instantly. I have a series of Synonyms for the first word that comes to mind: Rubbish. Hogwash. Poppycock. Balderdash. Hokum," he wrote. Okay, he didn't really take the words right of my mouth and here's my lame reaction to his choice of words: Magnificento! Brilliante! Awesomemeso!
Because great dreams take some time to accomplish, prepare to be alone. Your parents, siblings, friends, lover, and the pizza delivery guy are not guaranteed to support your dreams. There are several reasons for this: they don't care about you, they don't approve of your dreams, or they're busy with their own lives; all of which you cannot control. Should you then wait for their validation or support before you begin? Will you let the face of this kind of lonely (loneliness for the members of the word police club) hinder you?
One ugly memory of mine took place during a reunion dinner with some old friends. The conversation was going fine until one of them opened the evil box of old stories about people from the past. I was instantly disgusted, wanted to walk out but froze on the spot. The dislike of reviving lame old fables and myths about people from the past became apparent to me that moment. Endlessly reminiscing about the past was not the kind of glue I want in my relationships anymore. I preferred focusing on dreams, goals, and ambitions instead. "Am I friends with the wrong people?" I asked myself while my heart broke into small, brittle pieces. This, my friends, is our second type of lonely.
As social animals, we humans want to be cared for, understood, loved, appreciated, and valued. We spend the rest of our lives trying to continuously feel that we belong. Sometimes we get it right; sometimes we don't. Either because we're in the wrong environment or because of circumstances we aren't aware of, we sacrifice our authenticity in order to fit in, to feel that we belong. We dress, walk, and talk like other people, not the way we really want to. @@From the outset we look like we belong, surrounded by men, yet deep inside we don't, we feel isolated.@@ Ears hear us and mouths talk to us but we are never truly understood. It's a terrible kind of loneliness.
@@A man who chooses to live with the wrong set of people is killing himself inside. The more he assumes the form of another, the more he dies inside.@@
At a certain point in your life, you will arrive to a fork in a road, the first type of lonely on the left and the second type on the right. It'll be a tough call to make (but hey at least it will not be between pizza with pepperoni and pizza with LOTS of pepperoni) but there's no abstaining from making the choice.
Pick left and you may have to walk on the road alone, nobody by your side to assuage your fears and worries, to cheer you on, and to offer some glint of hope. But carry on. Who knows? You may cross path with people who dress like you, walk like you, and talk like you down the road? Or worst case you may find nobody, you walked the entire journey with only one company - your authentic self.
Pick right and you'll never be alone, men and women on every side to talk with you, laugh with you, cry with you, and listen to you. There's a feast, you all share it. There's a drought, you all feel it. In the end, when it's all over you all have memories to share with each other. But will those memories be memories of you? The authentic you?
Whatever you choose, you will still be lonely so which kind of loneliness will you pick? I'll end this with an excerpt from Mandy Hale's advice to one of her readers. The topic was about relationships but it also applies to other aspects of life.
Choose your lonely.
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