Quite a few people drift through life like those fuzzy dust particles drift through beams of light. A few will shine or catch a breeze and dance with each other but, despite being surrounded by them, most of them will go unnoticed. Surprisingly, being lonely has very little to do with your proximity to people. The world is populated with loneliness. People are married to loneliness, were raised by it and go to work with it everyday. One of my personal goals has always been to establish a community of differently minded and tolerant people that can help each other reduce that feeling of isolation and friendlessness.
It’s a dark world and we need communities to keep people from engaging in ridiculousness behaviors like “finding themselves.” This is a natural process that occurs over time and through activity and adventure, you cannot force it by making an announcement that you’ve suddenly decided to become who you really are. It just doesn’t work that way and, more often than not, “finding myself” often translates into trying new hobbies or wanting to make some sort of life change and needing an excuse. As a writer, I spend enough of my time immersed in my obsessions and memories. There will always be times where we are unhappy with ourselves and the world around us but doesn’t always necessitate a reinvention ourselves. Don’t make a mockery out of your entire life by spending it pretending to be something that you are not. In my humble opinion, the solution is to continue to be the person you really are and seek camaraderie. That said, I believe that there is nothing better than to occasionally commit yourself to be absolutely alone because it can yield wondrous things. Much of my best work has come from that place and it often reminds me how important my people are to me. However, we cannot all be social butterflies and party planners. Not everyone is properly equipped to make and maintain friendships.
There are plenty of things that will guarantee a lack of companionship. There are obvious things, like poor hygiene and a bad attitude, but people forget that something as seemingly infinitesimal as mispronouncing a certain word might cost you a future friendship. I, for instance, will not tolerate garbage like, “I figer he probly came to the libarie everyday cuz he suposably lived just across the street.” If you are older than six and try to bring something like that to the conversation table, I’m going to have the compulsion to step on your neck. I also don’t want to see anyone posting about their favorite television shows on social networking sites. Unless you were asked directly, nobody needs your detailed opinion on Glee. However, the worst offense may be this bizarre need some people have to always be in the right about everything.
I just feel that it is better to remain open to new and experiences and ideas because it offers you unique advantage. You’ll never know everything but it couldn’t hurt to learn as much as you can anyway. I feel sorry for people who think they have all the answers. A lot of people confuse stubborn ignorance with having strong principals. Nobody wants to be wrong, especially those who are. But it seems to me that the willingness to be wrong is infinitely more useful than the need to always be right. Aristotle claimed that an educated mind can entertain a thought without accepting it and he is sort of my go-to-guy on matters like this. He spent his entire life questioning and examining the world before coming to the conclusion that knowledge is always changing and based largely upon perception. When someone is talking about “the good old days” they are almost always referring to a nostalgic perception of their childhood. As children, we really cannot appreciate the horrors of the world around us because we are stoned by our own youth. If you don’t believe me, put a kid in front of the morning news for ten minutes and ask them what they recall. I will guarantee that, despite the reports being riddled with reports on murder, rape, arson, unemployment and other unpleasantness, the child will probably remember the commercials best. Then they’ll ask for a sandwich or something. It isn’t until we become adults that we allow ourselves to be tricked into thinking that the world has become a dangerous and scary place.
It is easy to forget that we all see out of different eyes and that most people genuinely want to make contact. We are not just receptacles for food and alcohol that occasionally engage each other in conversation and to reproduce. We are sometimes unique and interesting people inside of a larger community. It isn’t until we allow ourselves to become mundane, withdrawn and fearful that we have no place in it. Be a little braver and you may end up a little happier too.
I think you are so right in this.
It’s funny to me, I was just thinking about the lonliness thing and toying with the idea of a post about it. I have lived in both rural and urban areas and I have found that it is easier for me to feel completely alone when I am surrounded by people.
I always enjoy your postings and this was no exception! Thanks for a good read.
Writing about something that is on your mind is never a bad idea.
This morning I picked up a shift, away from my standard front desk duties to help room service. (As a manager, this raises morale). I went to the fourth floor and a man did not put the sign out front (always irritating) and I ended up walking in on him playing guitar, with scraggly hair and poor conversational skills.
After inviting me in, he smoked a whole bowl around 11:27am.
“Bro, you’ve just gotta wake and bake sometimes!”
I haven’t smoked since my mid-twenties.
I watched him, all as syndicated repeats of Bewitched played in the background. He smoked, played crappy singer songwriter acoustic “rock” and then babbled. Literally babbled.
These rare occasions where I interact with the uneducated, under-developed, average American are my favourites.
I feel like my comments would be longer than this post! Yes, yes, yes. Re “finding yourself:” It’s only been in the last couple generations that people have had the luxury to spend time finding themselves. In past generations, people didn’t have to find themselves because they were way too busy just staying alive. That sort of took up all their time until they dropped dead at 50, at which point they found themselves underground. Re writing: For me, it’s my yoga, my meditation, my out-of-body experiences. I need to read, and I need to write. I’m a simple girl.
While I agree that more people are allotted more free-time to waste, I think dissatisfied and confused people go as far back as recorded history can take us. That said, I’m glad you know yourself well enough for me not to need to worry.
Think this most philosophical piece you’ve written or at least from my limited exposure of your writing. Insightful insights into human condition. Prose dynamic with ability to weave your disdain for mediocrity and proposals for self actualization even if just at the level of at least rising from the mundane. I ran for town council 25 years ago. I was quite the carouser, drinker, pot smoker and had those occasional sniffs of a few lines here and there. Hey, Dude. This is Miami, dig? A few arrests too. So most of the mud thrown at me was well deserved. And well earned if I do say. But I had the education, knowledge of local government and passion for the issues and for reform. I was in the arena of the usual itinerary of such engagements and events. And whether they were fans or detractors, they were all mere spectators for not only was I was in the arena, I was in the center ring in the arena. I think I became quite polished out there.
The newspapers crucified me. I took it on the chin quite well having expected it all anyway. I lost, but got 26% of vote against a million to one odds. Ironically, the several subsequent administrations enacted most of my proposals and moderations and I got no credit. But I learned to become selfless for the benefit of the greater good. Irony is that I had to lose to win. And I am the battle weathered 61 year old that I am today and I’m still ready for the next arena. “Damn the torpedoes. Full steam ahead.” (Adm. Farragut, 1862).
Carl, the more I learn about you the more interesting you become.
And I mean that as a compliment.
Great post, Posky. Me, I grew up on auto-pilot, and just kept doing things the way my family did them. Not until I moved 3000 miles away and then came back home again 11 years later did I start comparing myself to them and seeing that – hey! – I’m different! I no longer vote Republican, for instance, just because my parents and their parents before them did. I questioned all my habitual thinking and learned to entertain new thoughts and ideas, and broke out of the mold. I never considered this to be “finding myself”, I just considered it to be long-overdue critical thinking.
Critical thinking is important and, I believe people do change. I just don’t want it to be under self imposed duress or confusion.
However, I am always prepared to entertain the possibility that I am wrong.
And I thought I was only going to find “funny” when I came to visit here.
Love this post. It is so true… and so much of what many of us often need to be reminded of.
I try to change it up from time to time… get some extra neurons firing.
Your blog reminds me of two things I heard. One quite some time ago and one not long ago. I try to remember them both. “You can be right or you can be real” and from an old cartoon show. “Always, always I tell you Tooter my boy. Be just what you is. Not what you is not. Folks what they is, is the happiest lot.”
I liked them both and I loved that they came from old cartoons.
Thank you Posky. Who’s the national treasure? You’re creating a wonderful community in your world here… this is one of my very favorite places to visit. ~Theresa
I give up, who is the national treasure. I’m quite fond of Paul Auster but I would like him to be more topical and inspiring in some of his work before I called him a national treasure.
Interesting and thought provoking. Funny, too–I love “stoned by our own youth.” I see it every day.
Do you have children, work in the schools or have a major drug addiction. Perhaps all three? If so, get one of those monkeys off your back. It doesn’t reall matter which.
Mister Posky, I just loved this post, a rare early-morning treat of eloquence.
“Language has created the word loneliness to express the pain of being alone, and the word solitude to express the glory of being alone. ”
Tillich had something there.
I hope you enjoyed your day.
I’ve been thinking about this lately, because I know a couple of people who think they’re always right and that their opinion is fact. It can get annoying quickly. I don’t mind people having opinions — it’s better than not having any opinions — but why do some people only see things from their side and not realize there are other valid perspectives? Some of these people like to push their views on you, but if you challenge them, they get offended, even though they expect you to take all their challenges. Very ironic, and they don’t realize it.
There’s a lot that could be said about that (hint, hint, to all bloggers), but I wonder how much of the blame lies with schools. They tend to teach a lot of information but not teach people how to think. It sure seems like the ability to have a factual debate has become a lost art (especially in politics!). So many people are convinced of their viewpoint and aren’t open to debate. And if there is any debate, they keep presenting their side without addressing the counter-points, and/or they twist the facts for their own purposes.
(I’m going to have to write about this on my blog… thanks for the inspiration!)
I’ve give it a look because I’d like to see how you expand on these thoughts. I know people like this too.
Hey, I came to your site and started reading, funny & very illuminating! Thanks! Evie
Not a problem.
Great post. I could happily spend an entire week alone but it’s the handful of good friends i have that make life worth living
This is my first visit to your sight. I enjoyed reading your insight to self, to the nature of lonely people, or just people – the words flow and its easy to read; a little funny, a little sad, a bit pompous and compassionate at the same time – an honest combination. Your cartoon art is amazing – so few lines and such clear message!! LOVE them. The first one stung me with the wit of truth; the next one made me laugh with the same. You are very gifted – keep up the good work. I’m looking forward to following your posts.
That was exceptionally nice of you to say. I don’t want to disappoint anyone so I am going to alter the following six posts that I had planned that are almost entirely about bathroom humor.
I enjoyed this post. It reminds me of how people can often label you miserable when you don’t enthuse about the latest contestant to drop out of “Who wants to be the next vacuous famous one?” I find myself being labelled “Odd” but I’m not, I’m not happy nor contented with the bland rubbish that gets thrust continuously in our faces every single day.
Humbug, stuff and nonsense. So there!
Very refreshing indeed!
Sometimes being labeled as miserable isn’t so bad. At least nobody things you’re a grinning idiot consuming garbage just because it’s there.
We do not always see eye to eye with those around us. Our unique experiences in life factor into how we perceive the world. That does not make them “right” and you “wrong,” or vice versa. We view the world from different vantage points ~ we see the world behind our eyes.
People who are close to us have a vested interest in having us stay exactly as we are ~ if we listen to them, rather than embracing change, we stagnate.
We don’t need to justify our beliefs or defend our lifestyle choices to the skeptics in our lives. Be willing to be the “black sheep” from time to time ~ only you know what makes sense for you. Do that. Be that.
After all, if you don’t live your life, who will?
I knew we had more in common than people would give us credit for. I always like what you have to say.
Heck, my mother would ‘try’! LOL. Couldn’t resist.
My favorite kind of post…one that calls for thought and introspection.
Love the analogy of humans to fuzzy dust particles in a beam of light, like so much cosmic dust! A great perspective. And I agree completely with Mr. A…that’s what Life is about…perspective, perspective, perspective. It’s what lends interest, causes chaos and offers solutions. Where would we be without it?
The heart on a journey…fabulous, loved it! I hope you don’t mind if I use it with due credit of course.
I’m always trying to build an army of creative, interesting and well adjusted people that are not afraid to have a think from time to time.
If you credit me, you can create a banner spanning the golden gate bridge for all I care. I could probably use the free advertising too.
Starting work on that banner now!
Loved this, Posky. So much to say, so little ability to write coherently, thanks to the cold medication I’m taking right now.
I will say that I share your opinion on improper speech and people who feel the need to share their opinion on EVERYTHING via status updates. (Though I must say that I’m glad Facebook wasn’t around when I was a teen, or I’d probably look like a total hypocrite right now.)
Feel better and watch that cold medicine, it’ll get under you and make you get weirder than you wanted.
“In my humble opinion, the solution is to continue to be the person you really are and seek camaraderie.”
Posky, that’s truly one of the wisest things I’ve heard in a long time. That and your last paragraph and everything in between really resonated. (Especially “suposably.” Who are these barbarians?)
Very nicely done.
I’m glad you found something that spoke to you.
Saying “suposably” is the greatest crime against humanity that doesn’t also involve murder and cannibalism.
i have to say i agree 99% with everything you said here
“It is easy to forget that we all see out of different eyes and that most people genuinely want to make contact.” Beautifully said.
I am so glad I found my way to your blog today. Great post! Diane
If I were you, I’d come back and bring all of my friends and family… I might even teach my dog to read and not just because it would be funny to see him in bifocals.
Wisdom, wisdom, wisdom. Jeez Posky, there’s a whole lot of truth in here.
I love that first cartoon so much.
This line is so true: “Surprisingly, being lonely has very little to do with your proximity to people. The world is populated with loneliness. People are married to loneliness, were raised by it and go to work with it everyday. ” I feel like I was born with loneliness inside me, like an extra organ. They should study me at famous research institutes.
Sometimes it feels that way, doesn’t it? Based on the part of the essay you focused on and everything else I’ve ever heard you say, I think we’d have a lot of wonderfully funny and intensely serious conversations.
Excellent post – I also have neck-stepping compulsions at the utterance of “libary”
I say go for it and hope that nobody tells on you.
Over here they pronounce it “Pebbic Libary”
I hosted a Halloween party this past weekend and one of the things that pleases me most is how different all my friends are. My facebook page is full of comments about what people are eating, fixin’ to eat, and political opinions from Alabama Hillbillies. Sometimes they drive me nuts but more of the time I laugh and enjoy. “Glee,” well thankfully I am past the Glee age but we do have spirited conversations about the clothes on “Good Wife” and what about those Giants. For my non-virtual friendships I hope we go a little deeper…at least on a good day. Love to be alone….listening to the sound of silence.
Nice to meet you and read you!
I had a similar experience, except for the bit about Alabama.
I’m glad you found the blog.
I enjoyed your blog – thought provoking and really funny. Love your cartoons too.
I hate the use of “undoubtably” … have you heard that one before? Too annoying for words.
“Quite a few people drift through life like those fuzzy dust particles” great usage of “simile”.
I thoroughly enjoyed the words of wisdom and the drawings compliment it perfectly.
I visualize this camp in the “mountains” … they chant, sing, dance around the fire and mumble the “Find yourself mantra” all the time.
(Insert sound fx of drums: “Unga bunga bunga”)
In the end the organisers of the camp make the big $$ and the campers are more “lost” than when they started …
Self-awareness and the search for continual self-improvement come from a willingness to accept our imperfections and our willingness to be open and to learn. This is definitely not easy, but we must come to terms with this fact in order to grow. It is only when we realize that we know nothing that we can begin evolve.
“As children, we really cannot appreciate the horrors of the world around us because we are stoned by our own youth.” This should be printed on t-shirts and sold. I might even buy one.
You’re a great mix of dark humor and unexpected honesty. I dig that.
Also: Kudos for bringing back Mr. Bevins.
I’m coming to party late….and without a degree in philosophy! Because as fabulous & thought provoking as this was, my favorite part was the comic & this sentence:
………If you are older than six and try to bring something like that to the conversation table, I’m going to have the compulsion to step on your neck……….
I am guilty of writing my opinions on things, though on video games and not TV shows….
Anyway, I think I’ve gotten over the loneliness I used to fight with. I learned that I need to be happy with myself, and I don’t need others for that. I’ve luckily never felt the urge to find myself. I like art, writing, and games. That’s my life, and maybe it’s not much, but who cares. I’m going to do what I do, and if I become successful at it, great, and if not, too bad. I’m not going to change and try to be like others too much.
i luv that heart walking along looking for love!
my daughter, “is this why you like his blog?”
Oh there’s something terribly wrong with me—no warm fuzzies for kiddie times. Oh but wait, that was a different time than NOW. Television was still in black and white without remote controls. People partied in their front yards every evening. Books were banned by my mother who demanded attendance for watching televised football for the crazed Chicago Bears. I so wished they were REAL BEARS.
Not to worry—I locked the bathroom door and ran the tub to nearly overflowing with books in hand. Yes, the NEED for alone time.
Hey, am I responsible for the response your writing prompted from moi? Yeah, I guess I am. So be it!
Nice post. It reminds me of yesterday’s lecture in my 17th Poetry & Prose course. We were discussing Milton’s “Areopagitica,” where he says the following: “I cannot praise a fugitive and cloistered virtue, unexercised and unbreathed, that never sallies out and sees her adversary, but slinks out of the race where that immortal garland is to be run for, not without dust and heat.”
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