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Lonely or alone.

There is a saying in English: "No man is an island."

I have always taken this to mean that we all need to be in contact with other people 24/ 7 for all our lives.

Then a life changing thing happened to my wife, and her thing changed my life. She got a job. She manages a haven for abused women, and this haven is more than a shelter. They heal, empower, and equip women that are broken in body, mind a d spirit to become strong and independant again.

But this post is not about the haven.

In working at the haven my wife is required to sleep in 12 days out of 14. She is only off every second weekend, from Friday night to Sunday night. As for myself, my roster is 2 day, 2 night, 2 off.

This plays havoc on our times together. And had we been 2 other people it might have driven us apart. But we choose to stick together, and to make the most of the times we are together.

This leaves the other(majority of) times. The times we are apart. Someone asked me the other day if this way of living did not make me feel lonely. It took me quite a while to come to a conclusion.

My conclusion is this: The difference between being alone and being lonely lies in how we percieve the effect of these times on our lives. We can see them as negative, making us feel sad because we have nobody around to care for us, for us to care for, to talk to, to spend time with or just to be with.

The other option is to see these times as times of growth. Because when we only have our own company we are forced to spend time getting to know ourselves better. And to work on what we can admit only to ourselves that which keeps us from being the best version of us that we can humanly be.

So in this way the self-knowledge and the self-pruning causes new growth. So even if solitude is not my choice at times, I can still see the difference between being lonely and being alone. And I can choose how I want to see each period of solitude in my life.

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