Guest Spot is a reoccurring topic on Natetheworld. For the post, I provide a guest author a piece of media and they write a response. Today, we are featuring Elizabeth Jones... one of the coolest human beings I know.
It’s funny how moments of solitude bring clarity in ways you don’t expect. And yet we fight it, sometimes with all our might, for fear that we might be seen as lonely. But why? Why is being alone so often seen as loneliness? In my mind, this can first be broken down into what causes us to feel lonely.
When reading Willow’s article the first time, and yes I read it more than once, I kept thinking at first how her hike sounded, well, perfect. It pulled at my inner self to want to escape the stresses and hurts of everyday life and be alone for a while. My inner traveling soul sparked up with joy to hear about such a freeing trip. Knowing I could breathe fresh mountain air, filled with the smell of rain and wildflowers and grass, I almost started booking a trip. Almost.
The almost part is the kicker. Because on one hand while it sounds perfect, it also brings forth the anxiety I’m constantly on patrol to keep away.
I’ve been working on this little trickster anxiety and it’s bosom buddy depression because they both talk me out of these moments. “I’ve never done that before. I’ll look stupid. What will I tell everyone and what will they think of my sudden urge to disappear off the grid for awhile?” All those thoughts and more surge through my brain like an electrical current you can’t find the main power cord to cut.
It also doesn’t help that our world today has convinced us to believe that if we aren’t plugged in to the nucleus of “fun” all the time, we aren’t living life to the fullest. Reality: we’re creating a comparison to everyone’s highlight reel of life. This in turn makes us feel like we aren’t enough when we’re alone.
Being a natural born chatty Kathy/social butterfly, it’s also hard to contribute to an interesting conversation at a gathering of friends when these crowds are constantly checking their phones for updates, texts, posting pictures, checking likes on said pictures, etc. It completely defeats the purpose of being together and does something I think is worse: makes you feel lonely while being surrounded by others.
I also know what that feeling of life taking over friendships feels like first hand. I’ve watched as my friend group has steadily shrunk like a waning moon the past few years. First, the major hit was right after college when it isn’t as convenient for people to see each other any more. Others just simply moved away. Now, people are building their families, getting married and having little ones. And as those people are writing the next chapter in the book of their lives, it feels like the pressure to have a great job, someone to care for you, and all the fun you’re “missing out on” keeps building.
But those are all just moments of loneliness, not actually being alone.
When I’ve been alone, I have experienced some great moments. Maybe even some of the best in my life. Reflecting on the beautiful weather, my courage for doing something by myself, listening to God, or even just the actual task I’m doing has brought me joy and happiness. It has given me an inner strength that no one else can ever duplicate because it’s mine and mine alone.
I compare moments like these to those in the article of seeing the multicolored sunsets fall behind the mountaintops, being surrounded by the aroma of wildflowers and grass as the breeze blows through the air. Beauty is inside each of us, we just have to take moments to stop and savor it.
But sometimes, it allows me to think about everything I’ve been putting to the side in my mind for a later date. “I’m too busy to deal with that. I don’t have time for those emotions right now.” Having those emotions come up is like those times in the article where the rain was falling constantly, with gear and clothing getting soaked, blisters forming, and patience running as thin as the air on those mountains.
Although these times can be difficult, and something that’s not the most fun to deal with, that’s the point. If we can’t take time to acknowledge and absorb our innermost feelings, how can we ever truly know ourselves? When I sort through these (sometimes very) hard to deal with feelings, I start to realize what really is bothering me or weighing heavy on my heart, and figure out how to give it up. For me, that’s learning to give it up to God to take care of, but for others that may just simply be to give it back to the universe. Let the bad go, let your tent air out, and keep moving because the sun will rise again to meet your face and give you its warmth. Just keep trekking. God gives you what you need precisely when necessary.
As I look at the entirety of the article, I just think, isn’t that how life is? When we look at it from the total trip, it sounds daunting. Sometimes it seems not worth the risks that could come from trying to venture out from our bubble. But then we just take that first step. We put on our backpacks and put one foot in front of the other without looking back. It can be dangerous at times, hard to do by yourself, and even seems like you won’t make it out in one piece. That’s when you have to rely on your intuition, faith, and the help of others, even if they’re perfect strangers. Most importantly you must rely on yourself, your inner strength and spirit, and know that you can find all you need if you just trust being alone to truly listen and feel deeply.
Enjoying my adventure,