What Makes You Lonely?

This was a question posed to be by my colleague, Alma.

It was a very hard question and for a few moments, I grappled with solid blankness until finally resigning that I had none as of the moment.

I didn’t use to be like this. The first few weeks since I moved into my new city, Zhuhai it was a constant battle of struggling to get through the day without thinking that I only knew ME so far in this large place. And talking to only me can get you so far. And I strove to get to know people as soon as possible to assure myself that I wasn’t the only one. That there were many others like me. I think we as human beings, need that a lot. The constant reassurance that we are not alone in this world.

Loneliness is very common for people who work abroad, especially if the country you’re in doesn’t speak your language. Suddenly you’re in an alien place and you can’t just pop in your favorite store to grab your favorite drink or go to your favorite mall and hang out with your pals or just watch your favorite TV series at home. You’ve never felt so alone and so small like a speck of dust in a big big world (especially if you live in China.).

Time remains the best medicine for this. It’s cost-free, convenient with only one catch –patience. Time to meet and belong to a new circle of friends. Time to familiarize a new place. Time to find your new favorite store to buy your new favorite drink. Time to adjust to a new culture. Time to call your new apartment home. Time to grow roots.

If I relate this to writing, writers are always thought to have a lonely existence but it’s not so. In fact, we’re surrounded by so many characters and worlds that we don’t feel an ounce of loneliness. They are own companions.

The few times I felt intense loneliness is when I felt my dreams of writing has slipped from my grasp and I’ve resigned myself to my meager routine existence forever. A shocking knife stabbing horror came from the thought that someday words would cease to fill my world and other parallel universes would slip from my grasp to go back to the shadows whence they came.

That was the most devastating blow of loneliness. Knowing that without my passion as my guide, I would trudge along my path –always wandering, aimless and without direction, never knowing where I am heading into the ashen mistiness of no return.

So I want to keep that loneliness down. I want to keep my passion always at my side in order to not feel that cold empty void again. So I can live with my head up and free and true and walk on my path knowing that I have a purpose, a direction and a dream.

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