The Lonely Diaries

Deanna Eppers
5 min readOct 10, 2022

Are we lonely or simply alone…

Jumping on social media feels like torture some days. I understand why young people have such a hard time with it and that ever present FOMO. We can sit in our house, apartment, wherever and be perfectly happy with our day until we decide to check on other people.

Why do we do this? There are always the random few who continually post sad stories that keep others away, just because they cannot see past themselves. They could put up a pic of a flower, a cloud or a frog and say, “what a beautiful world”, but they won’t. I try to stay out of that perpetual energy suck most of the time, though it’s good to be encouraging.

The rest of humanity seems to be trying to show off what a great time they’re having in life, or their huge new home, or they’re beautiful trip. Suddenly, I’m thinking I need to be out more often, I need to throw a dinner party, or go out to dinner and take pics of my food.

Tonight when I was on the inside couch (whoever thought we’d have to say those words together) watching football when my husband showed me a photo of neighbors watching the game on the tv by their firepit. We had just come inside from our firepit to watch the game. We have no tv by our firepit.

Photo by roya ann miller on Unsplash

So my husband and I started talking about having an outdoor tv! Why? Can’t we sit outside and look at stars, listen to music, and drink in the loveliness of getting away from the house and all its noises?

When we think we’re alone, we’re quite often not. Being lonely is universal, and it’s felt by people alone, or those in the middle of a party or in a college dorm crammed full of people. While you’re feeling lonely, your neighbor most likely is also, and that’s my point. It’s okay to feel that way.

What’s not okay is being perfectly pleased with how your day or week is going, and then comparing your life to anyone to the point where you lose your happiness. Not the moms at the bus stop who look gorgeous at 7:00 a.m., not the ladies walking and gabbing together in the mornings, not the guys meeting up to play basketball or anyone else.

We can feel happy while being alone. I recently thought what my perfect day would look like and it’s this: waking up early to walk for an hour at least, coming home for scaldingly hot coffee and reading, then showering and writing for hours, cooking a decent dinner and spending the evening with my husband.

Photo by Elijah Hiett on Unsplash

What do you see in the scenario? Nobody else! (except the husband). I’ve spent a lifetime trying to be part of groups and spending my energy on others, and my perfect day is alone!

It took a therapist to tell me I’m an introvert. I fought her for a minute, and when it sunk into my brain, I knew she was right. I’ve spent most of my life moving, so I learned to reach out to others only due to being new and knowing no one. That’s lonely.

Are you an introvert? Is part of you tired of being extroverted and pouring energy into others? Then being alone isn’t the same as being lonely. We’re simply conditioned to believe if we’re not out on the weekend doing something, or going somewhere with others, then we’re missing out.

Let that sink in. Missing out.

Are you? Are we really….missing out? What if we’re missing out on reading books? Making the perfect cake? Rebuilding that car’s engine? Running mile after mile just hearing birds and crickets? The sound of a quiet house as we putter about inside working on some project that makes us feel…happy, fulfilled, complete, special, and content?

If we are truly lonely, there are ways to meet others. Joining a group helps. I spent hours in pilates classes all over the city, and the lunch hour class was a riot. Stan was twenty years older than I, and he would complain about planking or any movement at all, but he joked around so much that the hour of pain flew by. I felt connected to those people.

You and I can try new ways to be with others now that the pandemic messed with our routines. But make sure you’re lonely. Being alone is not lonely, and there’s a world of difference.

Don’t watch some tv commercials showing people all together around a table laughing, eating a gourmet dinner with wine and no arguments, and then think you have to do that. No, hosting a dinner for me was stressful, and the cleanup afterward took hours. I would much rather meet at a Starbucks and relax!

Try to figure out if you’re lonely or alone. Alone isn’t bad. Lonely might require some action. Write down your perfect day or week. See where it leads you. Maybe you aren’t as lonely as you imagined, and maybe you’ll accomplish far more on your own than you would with others around.

Alone versus lonely. I do believe we can be both at the same time, but if we confuse the two we’re just messing up ourselves. And then who misses out? We do! Us!

Photo by Guillaume de Germain on Unsplash

Maybe we have to become more comfortable being with ourselves. Alone. This post is less about loneliness than I meant it to be, but what if we miss that alone time? We suffer. Others get our energy, and we have to be careful where we place our limited resources such as energy.

As we sink into the cooler weather and longer nights, maybe we need to figure out who we are. It took me half my life to realize I’m an introvert. What if you’re missing the signs too? What if you’re missing out on you? Spending time with you? Getting to do what you like?

Lonely? Or alone. There’s a world of difference there, so let’s spend time figuring it out.

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Deanna Eppers

Musician, ex-CPA at KPMG Peat Marwick, volunteer, decorator, renovating another house, mom to three, wife to one, blogs about finding happiness