Thoughts on Belonging: Lonely, but not Alone

I have gotten such a massive response from my “Thoughts on Belonging” post. Thank you so much to everyone who commented, emailed, and pm’d me. I hate to know that other people are going through the same feelings of loneliness, but there is definitely a comfort in knowing that I am not alone in this. So thank you for sharing your stories and support.

The funny, and slightly confusing thing about all of this, is that I am a very busy, social person. I am constantly going out for coffees and drinks and get-togethers. I am rarely alone, but I am still lonely. Because of this, it has taken me a while to put my finger on what my loneliness really is about. After much thought, I’ve realised a big part of the problem is that I am used to having a best friend. Someone who is my favourite person and I am theirs. Yes, I have this with my husband, but there is something about having a best friend in addition to one’s spouse. (I mean, you can’t complain to your husband about your husband, amiright?)

I want to be someone’s default. The first one they call when they’re having a bad day and the first one they text when they find that perfect lipstick. I have always had a friend like this at each stage of my life. I am used to having a friend like this. I need to have a friend like this. Heartbreakingly, I do have friends like this back in America, but the time differences and distance are such that it is just too difficult to be in contact every day. That, and I can’t pop by for a coffee, or go with them to an important doctor’s appointment, or take them with me as my “plus one” to a party, or really do anything other than chat on the phone and send emails. Making things particularly tricky is that two of my closest friends live on the west coast of the US where I’m ending my day just as they’re beginning theirs.

Lack of a best friend in London isn’t the entire problem, of course, as I am also very much longing for more of a community to belong to as well, but it is definitely a big part of my situation. Despite our seemingly perfect life here in London (and it really is a beautiful life) I often think how I would give my right arm to move to Portland tomorrow. I would have friends and family all within reach. I have work there and could stop trying to reinvent myself and just go back to what it is I am trained to do (sing). It makes me physically ill to think about how much I want this to happen, but it just isn’t practical for our family. Our life is here (for now anyway) and I will continue to do my best to find my people here.

Sending lots of love to those of you also going through similar situations. For better or worse, you are not alone in your loneliness. <3

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1 Comment

  • Reply
    May 19, 2017 at 4:25 am

    Another great post, Bethie! I totally feel you with missing your BFFs. AND the time zone thing. Mine are in London and Chicago and I’m on the West Coast. By the time I have a moment to myself to be able to phone someone – everyone has been in bed for hours!

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