Most people do not realize that they are alone until they find themselves lonely. Most people also do not realize that being alone does not necessarily mean that they are lonely. When I was younger, I used to surround myself with people, and yet I still felt so alone. Clubs, cars, and unfamiliar dorm rooms, and yet I still felt like I was encased in glass and everything around me was just muffled noise. As you get older, I have realized that the need to have someone around you all the time goes away. Maybe I only speak for the introverts of the world, but I know that for me, it was easier when I stopped pretending that I loved crowds and chaos constantly.
The one fact that I have realized at this age is that you will never be truly happy unless you are happy with yourself. I watch couples around me and wonder if they are happy or if they are just filling the void. For the longest time, you start to wonder if something is wrong with you because you are the only one in the room that isn’t married or dating someone or you don’t have a huge group of friends. I can tell you from personal experience that there is nothing wrong with you and that this is a bigger part of getting older. The sad reality is that you do lose touch with people as you grow up because you grow apart for many reasons.
So where does this leave you? When you’re suddenly in your late twenties, teetering on the edge of breaking that biological clock everyone talks to you about, only in the beginning stages of your graduate degree, and your biggest fan is your dog that you adopted. You are exactly where you are supposed to be. That is the biggest cliché that nobody wants to hear, but it’s true. When I was younger, my sister told me these exact words when I was cursing our home life and all of the dysfunction that came with it. She told me that God always puts us right where we need to be, and with each year and each new new freckle on my body, I see that this is the beautiful and raw truth.
People will come and go, and that is totally okay. As adults, there is this sudden pressure to have countless amounts of people you know on your Facebook and in your contacts, glorified photos of ourselves holding wine glasses with people we secretly hate, videos of our significant others kissing our cheeks. Meanwhile, behind the curtain, all you do is fight. You might feel guilty when you look back at the relationships that no longer exist. I would urge you to please ask yourself why.
Furthermore, the gentle everyday reminder that everyone needs to hear is that you don’t need anyone to make you feel whole, because you are already a living, breathing , and thriving human being on your own. This applies to a relationship at any level, whether it be familial, romantic, or platonic. If you find yourself connecting with people and only keeping them around as space-fillers, don’t be afraid to let them go and find out who you are on your own, because chances are, you’re probably missing out on the most important relationship of all, and that is the one with yourself.
You have more than likely made it through some of the most unimaginable situations on your own, and I am sure that you asked yourself how you would get through it. When you are sitting in your living room staring at the wall and wondering if you made the right decision about not allowing someone into your world, please remember how strong you truly are. When you are driving down the highway at rush hour and the sun is warming your face, inhale and exhale slowly to remind yourself that you are still breathing today. It is okay to miss people in your life and even grieve that they aren’t a part of your life anymore, even though they are still alive. What matters is that at some point whether you realize it or not, you learned to get yourself this far, and you will continue to move forward with or without anyone at your side.