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Posted on Tuesday, December 11th, 2007

Dave!I don't have internet, so I have no idea when I can post this. How typical.

Three days ago, I read an entry over at "A Pile of Dog Bones" that has been haunting me ever since. In his blog, Watchdog talks about the difference between being alone and being lonely, and comes to the conclusion that both are empty feelings that cause a sense of desperation, and the only difference is that "one is an absolute and the other is an abstract."

Since I am often alone (whether it be because I'm working all the time or traveling as often as I do) this kind of struck a chord with me. And on a night like tonight when I'm far from home, sitting down for dinner in the middle of an empty Pizza Hut restaurant staring at a single-serving Personal Pan Pizza... well, it's not difficult to see why.

The only difference being that I don't mind being alone.

Mostly because I never feel lonely.

Sure there are times I wish I had a nine-to-five job where I could stop work at a sane hour and do the whole "hey honey, I'm home" thing, but that's not the life I have. I suppose if that's what I really wanted, I could go and make it happen... but it would seem that I'm content with things the way they are, because I'm not inclined to change. I do the best I can to stay in touch with friends and family, and that seems to be enough. For me anyway...

Alone Not Lonely

And yet...

When I stop and think about it, how is it possible that I'm not lonely?

Any rational person would look at my life and say that I should be lonely.

Perhaps it's because I'm deluded.

More likely it's because I was hurt so badly by somebody in my past that I'd rather be alone the rest of my life than risk suffering like that again.

Anything is possible.

But, then again, I'll always have you.

Categories: DaveLife 2007Click To It: Permalink


  1. Mr. Fabulous says:

    But, then again, I’ll always have you.

    Let’s not rush to judgement on something like that.

  2. Dave2 says:



    I shouldn’t be surprised… he was just writing about hunting down his fellow bloggers and killing them the other day.

  3. I’ve been thinking a lot about NYCWatchdog’s post and your comment too. I spend much of my time alone, but I don’t feel lonely either. I think that some people do feel sorry for me because I don’t have more friends, but I’m not sorry. I’d rather have one or two very dear friends than a slew of people who really don’t care.

    I do get lonely for my family and friends back home sometimes. That’s when I especially love the internets!

  4. E.Argus says:

    The only thing I can really say is that I found that if I accepted the fact that I prefer to be alone or have a few good friends, like Geeky said, rather forcing myself to have tons of friends because I’m *supposed* then to I’m a far happier person.
    A lot of people seem to have this thing about collecting friends just for the sake of doing so and basically screaming “Look at me, I’m popular! WUV MEEEE!!!!”
    Not my style, I just prefer to live in my own contentment, not anyone else’s.

    *hides under headphones again*

  5. Avitable says:

    You manage to find things to do that interest you, and I think that’s a big part of it. I’ve always been impressed by your singular travels.

  6. Lisa says:

    In my mind being alone and being lonely are clearly sparated. I’m alone much of the time, but I’m rarely ever lonely. In fact if I don’t get my alone time, I get a little cranky.

  7. Robin says:

    You have all of us! You are probably in contact with more people on a daily basis than most.

    As much as I love my friends, I don’t mind spending time alone either. I get to do what I want, when I want and when I choose to..with whomever I want.

  8. But, then again, I’ll always have you

    And “we’ll always have Paris. We’d didn’t, we’d lost it until you came to Casablanca…”

    *ahem* Alright there, Humphrey.

    I think it’s all about expectations. If you expect to be able to have a fun and fulfilling life on your own then you can. If you think that you should have or need someone there with you in order for the experience to be complete then you’ll feel the emptiness. And, sadly, that’s something that you either have or you don’t – you can’t fake it. I know THAT from experience.

    I’m on my own a lot and I enjoy it most of the time; in fact, I’d say I need it a certain amount of alone time to be able to stay happy and keep my equilibrium. But there are days, like yesterday for me, where something sparks a train of thought (in this case it was a BlogHer article) and down I go into the Pit of Loneliness (which must be located next to the Pit of Despair from The Princess Bride). I can’t decide if having it all be “in your head” makes it harder or easier to deal with…

    But then again, I suspect there is a difference between people who have certain expectations naturally and those who have lowered what they expect from life after being hurt. I do know that there’s a world of difference between choosing something because you want it and choosing the same thing because you’re scared of wanting something more and not getting it.

    But I’ll stop now…this is getting to be one of my longer comments in a history of long comments. Don’t let the snow, no internet, and single serving pizzas get you down, Dave. You’re still the same cool dude that you were this weekend, and the weekend before that, and the weekend before that…

  9. Miss Britt says:

    I don’t think you’re lonely because you embrace your life wholeheartedly. Even the mundane.

  10. liquid says:

    there’s nothing wrong with being alone
    and not feeling lonely. ^____^

    maybe some people are just more dependent on others
    for their happiness?

    besides, with your iphone (and things like twitter), you can bring all your friends with you in your

  11. sizzle says:

    all i really feel compelled to say is, i’m sorry you were ever hurt that badly. 🙁

  12. Suzy says:

    “More likely it’s because I was hurt so badly by somebody in my past that I’d rather be alone the rest of my life than risk suffering like that again.”

    Sing it mister, I’m right there with you on that sentiment.

    And I had a similar life, traveling constantly, staring into space at airports trying to remember where I was. When I quit, I thought things would change but see your quote above…

  13. Webmiztris says:

    I think being the only child growing up is the reason I’m totally OK with being alone. And I’m not lonely being alone. I actually like it. So I totally understand where you’re coming from, Dave.

  14. Wayne says:

    I’ve wondered for a long time why you keep making your blog about YOU and now I see why. That way, you won’t be so lonely!

  15. Dave2 says:

    Uhhh… it’s my blog… who else would I write about?

  16. Catherine says:

    I like and sometimes love being alone, but I am (and have been for a long time) very, very lonely for a person to be in love with. It gets painful. I don’t want kids but I want family (the gorgeous friendly guy, me, a sweet dog or two) where I live and not just family where my parents live.

    That does not get in my way of being content enough while alone though and enjoying my own company and that of my friends from day to day. One makes things work. You are particularly good at that and at culling the richness out of your experience.

  17. Hilly says:

    Wait does this mean we ain’t gonna get married and have little hillbilly babies? The baby Jesus weeps! 😉

    Seriously though, one of the reasons I admire you is that you can exist without needing someone and without being lonely even when alone. That’s a hard thing to accomplish, really. You wouldn’t know this (uh, until now) but I’ve often heeded your words about being alone when I want to feel sorry for myself for feeling lonely and alone and waah waah waah. And who knows? Maybe later in life you’ll be able to shack up with some ho and ask her where your turkey pot pie is, but if not…yanno.

  18. bogup says:

    Everyone is different and there is no plumb-centered norm for human interaction requirements and needs. I found that during various times of my life being alone offered advantages. Yes, there were “down times” but time doing what I wanted to do (including work) offered a lot of positives. And, BTW, it isn’t selfish to devote time to yourself, esp. when you have a lot of interactions in a variety of activities such as business, and a blog, etc. So enjoy your life and make the most of it. And for those you touch, try to make them happy and fulfilled to the extent possible, while correcting those (like Bad Monkey) who need admonishment along the way. But you do that anyway.

  19. kilax says:

    I think it takes an evolved person to get to this “alone and not lonely” level. Seriously. You should be proud of not being a dependent PoS. If you aren’t dependent, it helps you appreciate face time with other people more.

    That’s what I think anyway.

    I suppose I am in “defensive” mode, because I lived by myself in Rome for a summer and got so much flack from classmates who thought I was crazy for doing so.

    Nope. 🙂

  20. Faye says:

    My cure for most ills is to get a dog! It’s impossible to stay lonely if there’s a pooch around–they need attention, exercise and affection and in return keep their humans from excessive navel gazing.

  21. “I’ve wondered for a long time why you keep making your blog about YOU and now I see why.”

    The whole blogography-being-Dave’s-blog thing means it can be about anything he likes surely 😉

  22. Brandi says:

    I + big heart + Dave = 4 eva!!!

    No, really. I adore reading you. I can’t imagine any one of your more faithful readers ever objecting to some not alone time with you, if you ever felt the need.

  23. Karl says:

    Yeah, why AREN’T you lonely? There’s something wrong with you, dude. Actually, I wish I could say I wasn’t lonely. I need something wrong with me, too.

  24. the patient says:

    you can’t ever feel lonely because you have an iphone! who can feel lonely when they have iphone?

  25. jodi says:

    sometimes, i’m the lonliest when i’m not alone.

  26. AnnieB says:

    I feel you are an insightful person that is comfortable in your own skin.

    Good for you! That’s not an easy place to get to.

    I also feel you’re smart, funny, talented, good looking … crap, I could just go on forever. *

    * Was that enough accolades for the 5 bucks? If not, I’ve got more. 🙂

  27. I’ve been thinking through this quite a bit lately. I’m enjoying being alone, it’s true. Almost enough to figure I’ll plan it this way forever. I don’t know, it doesn’t seem right, but it’s working out pretty good for me.

  28. B says:

    The reason one can be *alone* but not *lonely* is because…

    ‘The difference between loneliness and solitude is your perception of who you are alone with… and who made the choice.’

  29. Göran says:

    I´d much rather be by myself than lonely in a group.

  30. margalit says:

    Even though I have THOSE children, I’m alone most of the time. Like you, I don’t mind being alone, and I rarely get lonely. I get bored, oh man I get so bored. But lonely isn’t really much of a burden for me. I also have been horribly hurt in the past (where do you think the kids came from, Siberia?) and I’m absolutely unwilling to put myself out there and feel that kind of misery again. Ever. I just can’t. So I understand what you’re saying and I don’t think it’s crazy or wrong or even sad.

    But I’ll say one thing: as you grow older, you’re going to find yourself alone more and more. And you’re also going to find that traveling the way you do, and working the hours that you do just won’t cut it anymore. You’re going to be surprised to find that in 15 years you’re going to feel a lot older, a lot more tired, and a lot less willing to live such a nomadic existence. As one that traveled almost as much as you did until just you age (when the children were born), there is NO way I could ever do that now. Even if I were totally healthy, I just couldn’t live with that pace. And I fear you won’t be able to either, which could really lead to lonliness, considering that you live in the middle of freaking nowhere.

    Just a thought.

  31. NYCWD says:

    But, then again, I’ll always have you.

    I think that line sums it all up…

  32. More likely it’s because I was hurt so badly by somebody in my past that I’d rather be alone the rest of my life than risk suffering like that again.

    That’s true for a lot of people, and totally understandable, but I hope some day you feel up to taking that risk again. Sometimes the investment pays off.

  33. Kyra says:

    I think the term “alone” isn’t negative though. Lonely is, without a doubt. I hate being lonely. I am often lonely, whether or not people are around. However, being alone isn’t bad at all. The difference between being alone and being lonely is being ok with who you really are. When I’m alone there’s no pressure, and I kinda like it.

    But then, I’m freaky. 😉

  34. Naomi says:

    I am mostly alone but hardly ever lonely–I think it has more to do with being comfortable with yourself than with prior hurts–at least for me.

  35. Christine says:

    I have to second Jodi & Goran. For me being lonely tends to happen when I’m in a crowd and having a hard time fitting in or getting comfortable. I’m not very good at making small talk with strangers or with people I know but have little in common with. (Did that make grammatical sense? Anyhow…)

    It’s so much easier for me to be alone, as long as I have something to keep me busy. If there’s nothing to occupy me, the brain just keeps running, and it turns into the downward spiral into the pit of dispair.

  36. SJ says:

    “More likely it’s because I was hurt so badly by somebody in my past that I’d rather be alone the rest of my life than risk suffering like that again.”

    Yeah, been there. Lived in that state for 20 years, blissful in my oneness. Then Bret snuck into my life with his BFG of Love and blasted my barricades to smithereens. And reluctant as I was, I’m so glad I surrendered.

    Because I lubs ya, I truly hope someday your barricades get blown away by some lovely lass with a BFG of Love. It kinda sounds like it’ll have to be an ambush …

  37. You know – I’ve moved around a LOT in my life and all over the world, and it gets extremely lonely to have to uproot yourself and make new friends and new circles. Let’s not even get into romantic opportunities fading away by distance.

    It’s harder for me during the times when I only teach piano because I don’t even have the chance to converse with co-workers or anything. That’s probably why I choose to work two jobs – for the money, and social opportunities. It makes a world of difference.

    I really understand what you meant by being so hurt from past relationship that you rather be alone. I don’t want to say “I’ve been there too” because I’m only catching up on reading your old archives… and I don’t know your story.

    But yeah, years ago, I did make that vow to myself that I will not get involved in a relationship like that again. I will never put myself in such a terrible situation — that I have to be alot more cautious – and often, I’m far better off alone.

    Aside from romantic avoidance – The older I get, the easier it is for me to handle being alone; the more comfortable I am to being alone. I made friends with people who share this comfort in loneliness, and I’m glad I understand it – whether it is for the rest of my life or just next couple of years.

    You know, I’m glad I’m backtracking on your archives – and this may be the last comment on this post… so not alot of people would read me being all sappy. :p

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