Alone . but not lonely

The Cranston Herald ·

I was cleaning out my files the other day and discovered an article I had written about loneliness for PrimeTime magazine back in January 2002.

Eighteen years later, as we quarantine ourselves and keep our distance from others, the dilemma of being alone comes back into our lives.

Being alone does not mean we have to be lonely.

My wife is an avid reader and can lose herself in a book for hours, while I’m alone upstairs with my computer searching for story ideas. We are alone, but take periodic breaks to avoid being lonely.

I look at the poster on my office wall: “When Life Gives You Lemons, Make Lemonade.” Never in our lifetime have we needed so desperately to make lemonade.

I miss seeing our son and daughter and grandchildren, but make a note to call them this evening. Those who have the technology to Skype are much more fortunate.

While writing this, my neighbor called to see how I was doing and I made a note to call another neighbor and pass it forward.

I went through our Christmas card list and Rolodex and made a list of people to call or email.

More than ever, we realize that our home is truly our castle, whether it is a one-bedroom bungalow or a sprawling estate.

It is also our museum of memories, a collection of what you have done over the years. Every nook and cranny offers reminders of people, places and events we have enjoyed throughout our lives.

Select a special section of a room each day and explore it in detail.

It may be that knick-knack shelf in the den that is gathering dust. Pick up each item, examine it and recall where you got it and what it means to you.

Whether it is a knick-knack, photo, item of furniture, it has a history.

Get your grandchildren to teach you a few new tricks on the computer. The computer has opened new worlds for the homebound and helped drive away loneliness.

Step outside that house every day, whether it is sitting on the porch, gardening, walking the neighborhood, or just listening to the birds. Contact with nature helps us realize that we are not alone.

If you are religious, pray. If you are not, try it.

Bill Withers said it best: “Lean on me, when you’re alone.”