People often equate loneliness with aloneness, but I was at my loneliest when I was a high-flying economist for a leading Hong Kong brokerage firm, although my days and nights were chock-a-block – producing dailies, weeklies, and quarterlies, hosting bigwig clients, lunching with movers and shakers, attending sophisticated charity dinners, running around the globe doing ‘roadshows’… And why was that? I had friends, good, wonderful folk. What could be more exciting than a life like that? Well, it was an adrenaline rush at first, but I was too busy to attend to my soul’s basic needs: simple, heart-warming connections with PEOPLE instead of their MONEY. In the end, I found I couldn’t live without that.
So, I gave it all up, and returned to a life of service. But I still had really lonely moments, because when I wasn’t out there serving others – kids in particular, or hanging out with friends, I was by myself. You see, we’re programmed to believe that unless we have a husband or a wife, life can’t be fulfilling, and I no longer had one. But when I thought about it, I’d had some of the most frustrating relationships over the years, within which I’d felt even lonelier than when I was alone. So that wasn’t the answer.
Finally it came to me: until I learnt to enjoy MYSELF, I would never actually feel fulfilled. So, I began by embracing silence until I learnt to be comfortable with my thoughts, my aloneness. Then I learnt to play alone: I played Scrabble with me, myself and I; I danced and sang with myself, I cooked elaborate meals just the way I liked them, I went out into nature, took long walks, and found great companions among the other creatures of the earth that we usually have so little time for, and I had a whale of a time, a whale of a time!
When I was at the height of my happiness, I met my current husband and remarried. Having learnt my lessons well, however, I refuse to give up the romance I have with myself. I still spend quality time with myself, with silence, with nature. My present contentment leads me to believe that I’ve solved the problem of loneliness, but only time will tell. I still have one more challenging adventure: old age.