The Opposite Of Loneliness

I have actually borrowed the title from the book by Marina Keegan. It was the catchy title that caught my eye and prompted me to buy the book. After all, I also want to know the word that is the opposite of loneliness.

I came from a family of four girls who did most things together growing up. As we only have one television in the lounge, we tend to like and watch the same shows. We liked the same boybands. We watch same movies apart from those that I was excluded as I was deemed too young and innocent for them (e.g. Basic Instinct). The weekend was often a family time. We used to hike up the mountain in Guadalupe to go swimming in the pool up the mountain (don’t ask me why it was up in the mountains.) or go to the beach. Saturday lunch will be seafood lunch as Mama would have done her weekly marketing and Sunday lunch was always special. My sisters’ friends and my own friends like hanging out at our home as it is welcoming, noisy and happy. Outside of home, I am surrounded by happy friends of like mind and values.  So I really did not have time to be lonely when I was growing up.

Then I became an adult. I have been alone most of my adult life and like everyone else, I do get moments of loneliness. Often, they are self-inflicted moments because I isolate myself from my numerous friends. The times when I do not want to talk about what has placed the world on my shoulders. I sometimes cope better by being silent as talking will elicit the emotions and tears. But at crunch time, I am surrounded by friends who would rally up and refuse to let me wallow on my own. My good friends would know that they do not need to cheer me up and that their mere presence is enough. The problem will be pushed to the background as my friends engage my mind. My BFF of 26 years, who is far from me by some distance, would let me wallow then dishes out some tough love to get me going. There are also times that my friends and I just hang out for the sake of hanging out and everything is grand (as long as there is food!) These are the moments that are the opposite of loneliness.

Last night was prime example of what is the opposite of loneliness. It was the birthday of one of our friends and the invite was a last minute one but thankfully most of us were off. I was not feeling 100% over the last week and I was about to let myself succumb to the malaise of cough and colds  and my emotional turmoil so I was trying to excuse myself. I did not want to spread the virus and I was planning to wallow in my emotions by listening to my playlists that I made for these moments. But my friends poo-pooed my attempt at excusing myself so Beechams it was! I am glad that I went. Instead of thinking over and over things I have no control over, I spent most of yesterday being happy. I did not have time to be lonely, sad, or confused. I was playing with my youngest goddaughter— encouraging her to walk on her own, going up and down the steps, chasing the ball and her kuya. Then we spent at least four hours talking (more like shouting, actually) with the kids playing amongst themselves, my friends’ hubbies huddled over the barbeque outside and us seated around the table. The topics ranged from the trivial to the soul-searching profound conversation regarding religions. When we were talking philosophically about things, I jokingly said that these are topics that people who have already imbibed alcohol normally have. But we transversed through our conversations sans alcohol. I love moments like these wherein my grey matter is stimulated by the conversation and the laughter actually reaches the eyes.

I am thankful for the moments that are the opposite of loneliness. They are validation that life is multi-faceted so even if one aspect is missing or hurting, there are more to life that makes us happy and thankful.

I now conclude, as yesterday aptly demonstrated, being lonely is a choice you make. You can choose to be with those whom you love and those who love you or be sad and lonely.

So here’s all to all my family and friends, may your moments of loneliness be few and those moments that are opposite to loneliness be many. Happy Sunday!

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