“YOU CAN BE ALONE, BUT NEVER LONELY”
By Jane Dovidio-Gagliardo
How many times have you felt your life has gotten away from you when all you wanted is just peace and tranquility? Believe me when I tell you that there have been times when all I wanted to do is run away. Yes, run for the hills and not look back. Well, as we all know, it’s impossible to run from life. Oftentimes I settled for a break in the bathroom, with the door closed. Lol. When my kids were living at home, there was always noise and lots of activity. I spent lots of time running all of them somewhere for activities of some sort. As time went on, my sons got their driver’s license and could drive themselves around… boy was that a relief! Then, off to college, and poof, they’re gone. Quiet became the new tenant in the house and I welcomed its’ presence.
After my husband died, I thought that I would be so lonely. And to my surprise, I was not. Oh, I was alone… but I never felt lonely. It was an adjustment for sure. But loneliness was not something I ever experienced. As a matter of fact, I loved putting things in one place and a week later they were still in the same place. And when I go to pee at night my butt doesn’t fall into the toilet water. Yeah, I had all boys and that was always a real eye-opener whenever that happened. Lol. My grocery bill was less. I had less laundry and less garbage. And I had total control of the TV remote. Lol. I felt like I accomplished something just knowing my children were making their own way through life and were off experiencing and learning new and wonderful things about themselves and life in general.
Whenever my friends talked about how lonely they were, I couldn’t understand or relate to the concept of loneliness. Part of the circle of life is to raise our children and send them out into the world to make it a better place. So, feeling lonely was never an experience for me because I felt I was living within the cycle of life and doing my part. I think when you start to feel lonely, it’s important to reach into your memory bank and feel proud and happy that those memories have life in of themselves. I remember watching my Nona sitting on her porch, smiling. One time I asked her what she was smiling about? She said a memory. She never shared what the memory was, but I knew it was something that she treasured. The smile on her face illuminated the joy of her experiences and the peace she was enjoying. Without living life, memories would never be born. So, no I never feel lonely… my many wonderful memories have and continue to keep me company. I truly like living alone. I like reading when I’m eating. I like taking my bra off in the middle of the day. Lol. Yeah, there’s a lot to say about living alone. But for me loneliness is not something I experience. And to be honest, I’m not ready to give up living alone.
The American Community Survey states that 16.8% of Americans live alone and 14% choose to live alone. According to some statistics living alone is very unhealthy; and the vast majority of people, who live alone, experience major health problems. The elderly are healthier and live longer these days. It seems that healthy and older is good. And the statistics for them feeling lonely is very minimal. My point is the older we get the more memories we have to keep us company.
So, I encourage you to embrace your independence and find the joy in your time alone. As we age, we become smarter, have more money, and don’t have to ask anyone if we can use the car. Lol. I leave you with this quote; “Loneliness Adds Beauty to Life. It Adds a Brighter Light to Sunsets and Makes The Night Air Smell Better.” (Hebert Rollins)Stay Safe. Stay Strong. Stay Fearless.