Alone and lonely are different things

I found this highly relatable. I can easily go a month without going out. And my idea of going out involves a camera and nature, far from people. I lived in a proper city for a year and a half and my favorite moments involved walking all the sidewalks almost no one uses because everything is too far apart by foot. Back in the suburbs, I prefer the company of a leaf with interesting bugs or a tree with some curious fungus on it.

I am good at being alone. In fact, I need time alone: I need enough silence every day, otherwise my brain starts to crumble with crowding thoughts and demands and the need to say and do and think the right thing. Even chatting to a close friend or my husband, easy and fun as that is, takes its toll if I don’t also get some time without talking or being talked to. Talking is exciting but exhausting. It uses huge brain bandwidth. So, time alone certainly holds no fear for me and is even attractive.

And then...something happens. Covid. A power outage with a low phone battery. Internet outage. Blocked roads. Suddenly, the level and form of contact with society I prefer is mandatory. No longer a choice.

But this last week was different. A bit scary at times, if I’m honest. By Friday, I was starting to feel that I appreciated the word “lonely” for the first time. It was, I assume, the fact that I was not alone by choice. And that my imagination was starting to play the “what if?” game. What if I fell in the snow and no one knew? (My house and garden are not visible from the road.) What if I became ill? What if I needed an ambulance? What if there was a power cut and my phone didn’t work? And the internet? What if everyone else had evacuated and I was really alone?

I'm in a similar spot: there's farms and neighbors with chainsaws and winches and generators to help out in a true crisis. We're not connected by social media, but the option to go and ask is there if it gets bad enough to be social.

Loneliness, social media, community and being cut off
From last Monday until today (Monday) I have been cut off by the snow in my rural village in a valley. (I am now freeee!) My car couldn’t get out of my drive. There is no shop or pub. I&#8217…