I used to be so lonely.
I would just crave a person, ANY person to be MY person….And I wanted so desperately to be that person for somebody else. Every day as the sun came and went I’d think, why don’t I have a partner in crime to share my world with? Surely I deserve someone who cares to hear about my day. Surely there’s someone out there who can support me as I pursue this path of a artist…
And then I’d think, “but maybe I need to be lonely in order to be sad, in order to create art.” I had believed that I was destined to be alone. How else would I be able to feel the sadness and emotions it takes to create meaningful, soul touching music? After all, loneliness was a part of the reason why I wrote my song I’ll Let You Go.
I was desperate.
I remember googling ways to cope with loneliness. Sometimes I would spend midnight searches on blogs geared towards lonely people. A few times I bought meditations and self help books to try and mitigate the uncomfortable heaviness of being lonely. All I wanted was a person who I could unload to. Someone to share all my piles of experiences, funny things, emotional days, or new creations with.
As years went by, that magical person never came.
Of course I had wonderful friends and parents who I could always call if I had a particularly dark day, but it wasn’t the sort of connection I yearned for. Especially when each of them had their own ‘person’ already.
And all of this makes a lot of sense… Because in a world where we are constantly connected through social media, texting, and emails, there’s a HUGE isolation piece that isn’t addressed nearly enough. I’ll openly admit to scrolling through my phone while I’m eating meals alone at a restaurant, or waiting in line at the post office, or at the check out of the grocery store. In my mind, I prefer staying quiet in the comfortable nook of my mind, then venture out and make the effort to speak to someone new. But how can I complain about feeling isolated and lonely, if I can’t even make conversations with new people in day to day life?
It wasn’t until I launched myself into the unknown world of solo touring, performing house concerts, and really committing to life, that things turned around. I found not only ‘my person’ but also, unexpectedly, I found… myself.
Committing to life was the key that opened a new found world full of love,
support and connections with other people. THAT is when the loneliness started to fade.
What I mean by ‘committing to life’ is; participating, listening to others, being vulnerable with my truths and staying open to new possibilities. Ultimately, it was when I embarked on a tour on my own and really started trusting the universe that I was looked after, listened to and held – even when it wasn’t always obvious.
It all came down to trust.
Then came Greg, a supportive sweet partner, who just fell into my lap exactly when he was meant to… and exactly when I started learning to trust that everything was going to be ok and that maybe I wasn’t as lonely as I thought. Greg & I came into each others’ lives at the right time for both of us and ever since we met, loneliness has been a thing of the past.
But I want to be clear as I write this post, that loneliness should not be mistaken with sadness. Greg has helped me overcome my patterns of loneliness, but he did not cure my sadness. I too have experienced a deep dark sadness and depression, and the emotions I feel when going through loneliness are not the same thing. What he did was show up, be supportive, and then together we started integrating into our community, family, friendships and truly committing to life.
Are you lonely, too?
The most beautiful result in finding ‘my person’ is the fact that we immediately starting working to overcome loneliness together. We did this by reaching outwards, rather than isolating ourselves by turning in. Around that same time, I realized that it wasn’t a lack of a partner that caused my loneliness this entire time, but it was true connections to the outer world. And so, I have strong beliefs that if someone is suffering from the same feelings of loneliness that I have had, finding a way to commit to life doesn’t necessarily have to be with a partner. It can come within, if your up for a challenge. Or, it cane come from the strength/guidance of a friend, close sibling, life coach or therapist.
Anyway, since I had such a trying time in figuring out how to navigate the loneliness waters, I wanted to share some helpful things that really pushed my progress along.
5 things that helped beat my loneliness
1. I joined a fitness studio and started participating regularly
This is something I highly recommend to everyone. The more connected the gym/studio (pottery class, art class, improv group etc.) is to the community, the more events you’ll get invited to, and the more people you will meet.
2. I started attending community events
What better way to meet others and start building connections in your community than going to different events as often as possible. I started going to the local farmers market weekly, as well as local concerts, fundraisers and group meditations to name a few. And – guess what started happening? I began recognizing familiar faces at these places, and they’d come and say hello. If there’s one really great way to meet others, it’s to put on your own fundraiser or event, and reach out to friends/neighbours and local businesses who can help bring your vision to life.
3. I visited friends in different cities
I am on the road a lot. So keeping my roots firmly planted in the ground is not really possible, which makes holding onto friends/meeting people difficult. I have several friends I’ve made over the years that I wasn’t particularly close with in the beginning, but I’d go out of my way to visit them in their cities, and our relationships blossomed. We’ve become much closer as we experience new adventures together, and it’s been such an amazing way to forget about my loneliness for a weekend. My friends and I now schedule weekly or monthly video calls so we can catch up and plan our next visit/trips together.
4. I held a soup exchange.
This is my favourite! For my birthday last year, I had a soup exchange party and asked my friends, neighbours, siblings and parents to bring in a crock pot full of their favourite homemade soup. I asked my guests to explain why this soup was important to them and how it was made/what ingredients. During each speech, the soup was sampled and every guest got to take home doggie bags of their favourite soups. This party was a huge hit and my friends / neighbours bonded and got much closer in friendship. PLUS, we all had prepared meals for the next 3 days – win win situation for all!
5. online dating.
I realize this isn’t for everyone. Online dating apps can be rough. But I was diligent over the years and didn’t let myself get discouraged. I was lonely after all… Eventually I found Greg on bumble and our first date was a hike in the Colorado mountains. I’d like to mention that datings app these days aren’t just for romantic relationships. Some apps have filters to allow you to search for friendships too. I found one of my best friends using the BFF tool on the Bumble app 4 years ago. And while I travel a lot, we always make sure to catch up when I’m home and she’s been such a wonderful resource to help me trust the universe, cope with loneliness and commit to living life to the fullest.
**extra thing: you could get a fur baby…
While not everyone’s lifestyle is conducive to having a pet, furry friends can be such wonderful companions. Words don’t really do it justice. The love and fulfillment I’ve received from my sisters doggie peachie has helped me stave off loneliness more days than I can count. If you’re in a position to get your own pet, or even foster an animal who is waiting to be adopted, it’s a truly magical way to see the world and will definitely give you a feeling of camaraderie that you just can’t find when you’re completely alone.
The last nugget of wisdom I’d like to share with you is this:
Once you commit to showing up and really grabbing what life has to offer – people will start to notice you, remember you and start up conversations. Be honest with them and the fact that it’s been difficult to make friends and connections. It’s human nature to want to help others who are in distress, so if you can be honest and show a little vulnerability, people will be even more inclined to invite you to group gatherings and include you in their social circles.
And maybe.. just maybe, you’ll find ‘your person’ there. Or a new BFF… Or an animal to love on. The possibilities are endless if you stay open to them!
Sending you love, trust and a feeling of togetherness… Because really, you’re not alone.
You never were.
We’ve been here all along.
** All photos on this post were taken by the incredible and hard working Avan Patel Photography.