What going to the bar alone has told me about loneliness

article_BarAlone

In more recent years,

I’ve grown accustomed to taking some time to be alone at a a place where people typically gather for drinks after a hard day’s work–the bar. Having done this for the past couple of years, I find myself curious about the lives of my fellow patrons at the current moment and have concluded one thing through much people watching–we are, generally, uncomfortable with being good company to ourselves.

It’s typically pretty rare these days to see people sitting alone at a bar (at least where I tend to go) and as if out of a sort of compulsion, people are quick to whip out their smartphones and occupy themselves, rather than enjoy the quiet and stillness the current moment offers.

At first I thought “maybe these people have important matters to attend to” which, of course, could be the honest truth. Maybe this time at the bar is finally the moment in their day when they could browse the internet, mindlessly scroll through Facebook or catch up with friends. I’m willing to bet money however that most of us bury ourselves in our smartphones during these lulls due to it being a safe place for us to go when we feel uncomfortable.

Perhaps, it means something to us to give the outward appearance that we aren’t alone even if we are indeed just that in a physical sense. Unfortunately, I think we tend to frown upon those who are in company only to themselves at social gatherings, so I suppose it makes much sense that we would subconsciously try to eliminate the notion that we are indeed by ourselves by showing others we have a life where we are connected to others through our smartphones.

When I’ve realized this, it all seems so…poignant. That is, that we have this fear of being perceived a certain way from those outside of ourselves. I’m totally guilty of this too. It can feel alittle awkward at times when you’re sitting at the bar quietly while everyone else is engaged, and so out comes my pocket sized safety blanket to relieve some of the tension.

Being alone with one’s thoughts and simply existing in the moment in quiet contemplation is something that we could all truly benefit from, and yet their exist a sort of resistance to the idea of being able to sit down and do absolutely nothing. I wonder if things were always this way, or if technology has given us an escape from, essentially, ourselves.

I don’t know. What I do know is that it is worth it to try and enjoy simplicity whenever we can. Who knows–maybe we will discover that we ourselves are pretty cool people to spend some alone time with.

-Lonely City

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