Last night while having a conversation with two friends I made the comment that when I was younger I always wanted to own an island and live there on my own. Away from those things called “other people.” Now to put this into perspective, it was actually my friend’s and my dream and we even picked the island – Antartica. Looking back though this would definitely have been the wrong island; it is way too cold.
I was trying to figure out why, for years, we insisted on having this dream. The strangest part is that I actually had nothing against “other people.” I really enjoyed being on my own and this was the appealing part of having an island. I could day-dream and talk and read and have an entire day of never feeling lonely all on my own, not being judged and not having to be considerate towards anyone else. Even today it is quite a topic in my household. I can disappear into my room for hours and only emerge when someone thinks I’ve been kidnapped. As an example, I was recently locked in my room for 3 hours – the door would not open and I had to wait for someone to come home. I had my cell phone but did not call anyone until I started getting hungry. When my mother arrived she could not understand why I had not called her sooner. I tried to explain that the only thing missing was food, otherwise there was no need and she did not understand this at all. I on the other hand did not understand why this was so difficult to understand.
I am learning that there is a difference between feeling lonely and being alone. I can feel completely lonely in a room full of people; especially when I am not comfortable and I want to swap people in the room for others. But I can be completely content and not feel lonely when I am alone. So why is all this so important? Well two things I am learning – the saying that no man is an island is believable. As much as I may be a loner I love the fact that I have people I can appreciate in my life. They do not need to be around me all the time but the knowledge that they are in my life is fulfilling at the best and worst of times. The second is learning the importance of having the right people in your life. People are people. Everyone makes mistakes and acts selfishly and in their own best interest but that does not mean they are doing it on purpose towards you. In fact, it probably has nothing to do with you. And if you find the right people who understand you and forgive you when you are at your most horrible and most selfish then those are the keepers. Everyone needs their own island so they can escape but everyone also needs their own boat so when that feeling of loneliness creeps in you can make the effort and island hop. It’s also important to realise that no one is going to understand when you are feeling lonely and at times you may need to compromise and make the effort – after all, if you are the one with that feeling then it’s your responsibility to fix it. So own your alone time; own your friendships and own the choice you make to who is let in your life – it’s your island.
I read a quote recently by Mandy Hale, which sums this all up: “Two things you never have to chase: True friends and true love.” So stop running – enjoy your island and take that boat ride every now and then.