Tonight I took myself on a movie date. It’s something I like to do for myself from time to time. And every time I do so, either high on fiction or lost in thought, I end up wandering around the streets of Oslo. I watch the city come to life at night, the people going from one place to another and I watch their faces and difference in moods. They give a swift glance of unknown stories. And as I walked around the city that was draped in a slightly see through blanket, protecting it from the darkness, I was struck by the feeling of wonder. I thought about being alone, and how it means something so completely different to me than it might do to most.
I thought about how we confuse being alone with being lonely.
I stood still and was surrounded by the noises nighttime offers and the blanket wrapped comfortably around me. People passed me and vanished into their own futures. I marveled at the unknowingly sharing of presence. And in a moment where I was completely lost in my own thoughts, a single tear found its way towards the ground I was lost on. Not one of sadness, but one of an overwhelmed mind. An old man and I shared a connection of souls through eyes at the very moment it happened. I offered him a smile, and got one in return. Momentarily rooted to the spot, having chosen to walk around alone, I felt surrounded by wonder and love. No person was any longer a stranger, for they were all faces connected to places that made us all cross paths.
In a world where you are everyone, and everyone is you, being alone doesn’t mean you have to be lonely.
I’ve grown to love the time I choose to share with all the people I have not yet come to know. Cherishing the time that I feel inner peace, even though I’m surrounded by the sounds of everyone else’s lives happening all at once.
I encourage you to be alone. I dare you to enjoy time with yourself. And I challenge you to come to terms with the fact that being alone and being lonely are like two completely different worlds. That lonely is a state of mind, alone is a choice of presence.
We are all surrounded by stories, by faiths and by connections. And only when you’re truly comfortable with standing on your own, only then can you open up a real invite to connect with the world around you.
We all feel lonely from time to time, and there’s nothing wrong with that! But the undeniable truth of it all, is that we’re all in this together.