January 19, 2020

To The Lonely – A Final Unapologetic Message

As you are now aware, I am in the process of sharing my final thoughts with the world, one personal message at a time. This message contains my final words and thoughts to those who are often lonely.

Dear friends,

May I share one of my all time favorite quotes with you?

“The trouble is not that I am single and likely to stay single, but that I am lonely and likely to stay lonely.” ~Charlotte Brontë

Absorb that for a moment. It is powerful.

Now… Before I share my final words to the lonely, let me emphasize that this is not a message I am writing to single people. It is a message to lonely people. Take it from me, a person can be extremely lonely with someone laying right next to them each night, or even in the middle of a really crowded room.

I honestly believe loneliness is one of the most complex human dynamics that exists in this world.

For an entire decade now, I have been surrounded by amazing people.

I have been surrounded by, at first, dozens of followers, then hundreds, then thousands, and then eventually millions.

I have an extremely loving, supportive, and BIG family.

I have so many incredible friends who I see often.

I have my son here with me often, and we have an amazing relationship.

Yet for ten years, almost every night I crawl into my big, king size bed. I watch TV or I read a book. I dink around on my phone. Eventually I’m ready for sleep and I just lay in silence most nights for a few moments. I often look over at the empty pillow next to mine and try not to think about the fact that for some reason it is still empty. I roll the other way and turn off the lamp. Then I try to do whatever I can to ignore the strange, empty void that loneliness is (even in such a people-filled and wonderful life) as I try to find sleep.

Oh, that strange, empty, consuming void.

How to even begin to understand that loneliness void? It is not sadness for what now is unless there is also happiness for what once was. It is depressing yet built on hope. For most, it is not a need for someone to be there to make them whole, but rather a feeling of another type of wholeness another could bring.


How to even begin to understand that loneliness void?

What I’m about to tell you, I do not tell you to try and sell you something, but rather to help you understand just how much I have tried and struggled to become one with loneliness for so long now.

Do you remember when I published this book and hyped it up to all of you?

The answer is, for every single person reading this, no you do not remember. Why? Because I never told any of you that it was for sale or that I published it.

No, really, here it is on Amazon if you want proof. And to save you a trip over, check out the incredible reviews on it so far:

Yeah. I shared it with absolutely nobody after I published it last year.What's worse is that I actually finished writing this novel about four years ago. And it's a really good novel.It's written from the perspective of Cain (as in Cain and Abel), who was cursed to not only live forever, but in my book to also lose every love he ever found. It starts in the modern day, as Cain becomes desperate not to lose yet another love because of his curse, and then it vignettes his entire millennia of existence through all the lessons he learned about love and loneliness by having to lose it so many times.I never gave the book to my agent. I never let any of my close friends or family read it (besides my bookworm kid, who loved it). I just kind of... Shelved it and tried not to look at it. Why?Because, my friends. Loneliness is so personal and so complex, and writing this novel was my true desire to understand loneliness and the feeling of being cursed, as those dynamics pertained to my own life and journey.The very act of writing the book and getting so deeply real with my own loneliness made me feel so raw and so vulnerable throughout the entire writing process that every time I look at that book, I feel my insides twist into knots.Do you remember when I just kind of disappeared from blogging a few years back and didn't write anything new for a while? It was because of what writing this book ultimately did to me for a long time.Anyways, enough about the book. I am definitely not trying to sell you on the book today.

I am simply telling you just what loneliness has been for me, personally, because I know it has been something similar for so many of you…

If you and I experience the same kind of loneliness (and I know there may be other types of loneliness out there)…

Loneliness for me is a broader array of holes inside of me where something else used to be. It’s as simple and as complicated as that.

The hole I feel inside me at night as I look at an empty pillow is not so much because I am alone, but because there have been so many good moments in the past where I just lay in bed next to someone I care about talking about anything and everything before we go to sleep.

The hole I feel at Christmastime is not because I am alone, but because every part of the holiday season reminds me of something I once had or did with someone I loved to make the season special.

The hole I feel when I walk into my family’s home for Sunday dinner is not because I walk in alone, but because it reminds me of all the times I walked in holding someone else’s hand.

The hole I feel when I go to a stressful doctor’s appointment is not because I am alone, but because it reminds me that there was once somebody there to hold my hand in such moments.

I could go on, and on, and on with all the holes that build loneliness, but everyone’s loneliness holes will be different. In the end though, loneliness really is just hole after hole that is created inside of us where good and happy things used to be. It’s as if something reached inside of our souls and plucked out all the goodness that comes with a loving relationship, but then does nothing to replace the empty places it leaves behind.

This is why I do not, and never will buy into the platitude that one should learn to be completely happy by themselves before they try and find happiness with someone else. It’s utter bullshit.

I can be completely happy alone, yet completely sad that I am alone, all at the exact same time. That is the paradox Charlotte Brontë (author of Jane Eyre) must have felt when she wrote, “the trouble is not that I am single and likely to stay single, but that I am lonely and likely to stay lonely.”

Much of what Brontë wrote was about loneliness and she came to know it in a way that those of us who truly study our own only can. To understand loneliness, you really have to stare the monster dead in the eyes and succumb to the messages it is trying to tell you. The reason it is so difficult to understand at its greatest depths is because nearly every message it sends you somehow conflicts with the last.

And while talking about the existence and the cause of loneliness is all well and good, I do have an actual message for those who are lonely.

Dear friends,

My advice to each of you is this:

Do not fear the loneliness, yet do not embrace it.

Do not hide from the loneliness, yet do not run to it.

Do not fill the holes of loneliness with all the wrong things. Let yourself feel it until those holes are one day filled with good things again.

All three of those complicated dynamics and personal rules to loneliness intertwine with one another and feed off one another in so many complicated ways…

Loneliness has caused even the best of people to take the most drastic of actions to escape it.

Loneliness has pushed those who feel it to tears, it has pushed others into addictions, and it has pushed many who feel it into the arms of the wrong people.

Loneliness has cost people hours of their lives, weeks of their lives, years of their lives, and sometimes the remainder of their lives.

Loneliness has interrupted people’s powerful and productive thoughts, it has triggered people’s mental illnesses, and it has stopped new love from ever happening as the fear of new future loneliness puts roadblocks and walls into people’s lives.

Nobody likes feeling an empty hole inside of them, and as humans we feel a great need to fill whatever holes that we feel as quickly as possible.

The problem with loneliness is that there is no thing or action we can dump into our loneliness holes that will actually fill them. Those holes can only be filled with new moments with the right new people and trust that those moments will keep happening. I’m sure you’ve noticed that there isn’t exactly a category on Amazon to go order that on Prime. It just has to happen when it happens.

This is why you must learn not to hide from your loneliness or try to cover it up so that you never feel it. Nothing lasting or healthy ever happens when you do.

It is my experience that the more things or people you try and cram into those loneliness holes to keep from feeling them, the most drastically and painfully you will feel them in the moments you suddenly find yourself unable to escape them.

You must instead learn to let yourself feel those voids and temporarily fill those holes with some kind of invincible hope for the future. You have to learn not to think about what once was, but instead focus on what one day might be. You must learn to lay with your eyes closed and remind yourself of just what loneliness is and why you have it in your life.

I can’t give you much more advice than that because your loneliness is so personally yours. The holes you feel inside of you were created by moments in your life that will never match the moments in mine, even if there is some overlap. I will, however say this…

When you one day find your own lonely holes filled with all the right things (and you will if you keep that invisible hope alive), never forget just what that loneliness felt like, and always be aware of those around you.

Sometimes the greatest gift you can give to someone who is lonely is to simply include them in the moment or as often as you can.

Dan Pearce | Dan Pearce Was Here (formerly Single Dad Laughing)