2 August 2011

On Solitude

A somewhat more serious post for a change.

I recently read this article by Matt Skala (former author of Bonobo Conspiracy) called 'What (not) to say to someone who is alone', and it proved quite thought provoking. I momentarily considered just sharing the article on Facebook, but quickly decided this would serve no purpose, other than to highlight my own solitude, since my situation isn't really quite the same (as the lives of any two people won't be, of course). So perhaps the matter calls for a little more pondering upon, to clarify my own take on it.

The article is about the hurt of being alone, and about the hurtfulness of unthoughtful remarks and 'advice' offered by others.

So, yes, I am single. I have not always been single (somewhat to my surprise, and possibly others'), but I've been single for a long, long time. However, it is not a topic that usually comes up in conversation. I don't actually remember anyone ever offering me advice in that area (and I'm pretty sure that's nothing but a good thing). I don't know whether this is just because in my circle of friends and our activities it's not an issue of any real interest, or if it's a cultural thing (we Finns are, after all, famously silent and unemotional).

The thing is, much of the time I don't actually mind being alone. Often I think I even prefer it. I am a lazy, self-centred bastard, after all. Or an individualistic, artistic person, to put it more nicely. The thought of having to plan each and every day's activities while constantly having to take some other person's wishes (or mere existence) into account gives me the shivers. Heck, I wouldn't even take a pet, I couldn't cope with the responsibility. (And I can categorically state right now that I will never want children of my own.) I am a person who needs his own time and space. And many, if not most, of my interests (video games, music etc.) really just aren't social, either, and they are not something I would ever want to give up.

If all this makes me a bad person, or 'emotionally crippled' or whatever, then so be it. I've never claimed to be a perfect individual, quite the contrary in fact.

But of course there are those times when the longing for another person is quite real, and on occasion almost overbearing. And I'm not (just) talking about sex here, mind you, yet something more than mere friendship. Such simple things as a touch or an embrace can be incredibly powerful sometimes.

One could spend an endless amount of time analysing why it is that I am alone then, that I haven't even been on a single date during my adult[sic] life, but of course it all boils down to the old cliché of 'not meeting the right person'. And there is little one can do about that. You could talk to me about 'meeting more people', but frankly, I'm pretty happy with the circle of friends I currently have, and I have no interest in seeking new friends just for the sake of it. And as for meeting people solely for the sake of potential coupling... sorry, but my brain just won't work like that. For reasons I've already touched upon, I'm not that interested in dating to try to force it in any way. Bottom line: if it doesn't happen naturally, then it most likely won't happen.

I can't really say that I've met many people in my life that I would truly have been interested in (call me picky, if you will, but it's not like I can choose what I like). And of course if such a person miraculously stumbled into my life (and I'm reasonably convinced they won't), the chances that they would also be interested in me are of course next to nil, so why bother? Call it cynicism, if you will, I call it realism.

This is about the point in the discussion where such concepts as 'self-esteem' start being thrown around. Perhaps mine isn't the highest possible, but I'm not naive enough to think that that is without reason. I am no one's daydream, or what some might call 'boyfriend material', that is blatantly obvious. And it's not merely my appearance, poor articulation skills etc., the stuff that makes up people's first impression of me, but my emotional shortcomings as well which would not be insignificant in the long run, like the reservations about relationships outlined above, as well as the utter non-achievement which has ruled my adult life (and, more than a little, the resulting financial situation, living conditions etc).

And there you have it. A pretty meaningless post, in the end, I think. It'll change nothing. I guess I'm just something of an emotional exhibitionist, who gets kicks out of baring his soul every now and then.

(Lastly, just to clarify, in case someone had doubts: yes, I'm straight.)

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