Voice from the Middle

One is the Loneliest Number

I love that song.  Three Dog Night had it right. One is the Loneliest Number. If you are on your own out there.  I mean — on. your. own. — not living a block from your parents who still help you landscape, not in a marriage, long-term relationship, or living with family, and not a member of an extended community, then you know what I’m talking about.

Media has written about the affects of social media, and how many of us are feeling isolated even though we may be reaching out daily to others online.  I definitely have felt loneliness in the last 10 years.  Me. The person who loves to be by myself — content to traipse around outside alone, sit alone, travel alone, go to the movies alone has many times of loneliness.

Take yesterday for instance, I went on a biking party ride. It’s an annual event in February and I’ve always wanted to do it. Only 24 miles but it is the time of the year when the weather can be -20 degrees while snowing, or 70 and sunny. Yesterday it was 40 degrees, windy and raining.

I certainly wasn’t the only person riding alone. Most of the solitary riders were men who have no problem doing things by themselves. Right? I told myself, the couples or groups of riders probably simply think I’m new to the area and haven’t gotten to know many people. Ha! Native.

What my problem is, is I like to do things on my own terms. So the ride starts at 10am, but I want to sleep in and get there when it fits into my schedule. Buddy went with and we took side trips to parks to let him run, chase squirrels and piddle here or there. I see people drinking and having fun in groups but I don’t want to feel the effects of alcohol tonight. I want to knock out some work I didn’t get done on Friday. So I’m to blame for my “alone” lifestyle.

I enjoyed the day riding and being part of something.  It was fun maneuvering the day the way that made me the happiest. I’m glad I do this. But I admit, feelings of loneliness floated over me/ around me like dust around Pig-Pen.

I’m not sure what to do with those feelings. Maybe you can’t have it all and sometimes, I’m just going to feel lonely.  I guess I can live with that.  Now que that song again. . .

— Namaste

By Debra Happe

Debra Happe is a writer and marketing professional based in Des Moines, Iowa. Debra does business, magazine, and freelance copywriting work. Specialties include science-based, environmental, and technological. Connect on LinkedIn for professional inquiries.

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