Loneliness is not something that people choose to experience. It’s a feeling that can creep up on us when we least expect it. For me, it was a gradual process that happened over the course of several years.
It all started when I began working from home. At first, it seemed like a dream come true. No more long commutes, no more office politics, and no more distractions. I was able to work in peace and quiet, and I thought that was exactly what I needed. But as the weeks turned into months and the months turned into years, I found that I was becoming increasingly isolated. Because the people I was working with were in different time zones, the days became longer, and interaction with the outside world diminished.
I found myself with very few people to talk to. I believe this affected my relationship with my family and wife, as well as my social life. It was like I was living in my own little bubble, and I didn’t know how to break out of it.
Part of the problem was that my work was so closely tied to my computer. If I was at my computer, it was assumed I was working and could not be interrupted. Or at least this is how I made it look – I would be too busy working to attend to other needs. This created a barrier between me and my family, and it also made it difficult for me to connect with anyone outside of work.
And then there was the ever-reducing number of contacts or people to speak to. When I was working from home, if I did want to have a whinge about something, there were very few people around because of the different time zones. As a result, I felt like I could not tell anyone, and those feelings stayed inside me. The idea of self-care was unknown to me.
Loneliness became my normal, and I didn’t even realize it. I thought that this was just the way things were, and there was nothing I could do about it.
But eventually, I realized that I couldn’t continue living like this. I needed to make a change, and that’s when I decided to enroll in a local college. I wanted to meet new people and do something that interested me.
I found myself looking forward to going to class and having conversations with my classmates. It wasn’t easy at first. Talking with others was a slight challenge, especially since I had spent so many years in isolation. But I quickly realized that communication is a skill, and if you don’t use it, you lose it.
Over time, I began to chat with other students about assignments and participate in group projects. I would strike up a conversation with the librarian or grab some fish and chips before class with another student when there were evening classes to attend.
And slowly but surely, I started to feel less lonely. It wasn’t a sudden transformation, but rather a gradual process. Over the days, weeks, months, and perhaps years, it got easier. Overcoming my loneliness wasn’t something that happened overnight. It was a gradual process that took time, effort, and patience.
I learned that loneliness is not something that you have to accept as your fate. There are ways to overcome it, but it takes effort and a willingness to put yourself out there. It’s not always easy, but it’s worth it in the end. By taking small steps, like attending classes and joining new groups, I was able to start living a more fulfilling life.
I’m not saying that enrolling in a college course is the solution for everyone. But there are plenty of other ways to connect with people, whether it’s through a shared hobby, joining a community group, or simply striking up a conversation with someone. Now (years later), I’m happy to say that I no longer feel alone. I have a wonderful support system of friends and family who I can turn to when I need to talk. (That’s still a work in progress)
The key is to be proactive and take action. Don’t wait for someone else to come to you. Make the first move, and you’ll be surprised at how much easier it is to connect with others.
Loneliness is a feeling that can happen to anyone, regardless of their circumstances. It’s not something that people choose to experience, but it can become their normal if they don’t take action. It’s important to recognize when we’re feeling isolated and take steps to overcome it – whether it’s through socializing with colleagues, enrolling in a course, or volunteering. And if you’re feeling lonely, know that you’re not alone, there are steps you can take to break free from those feelings and start living a more connected life.