Loneliness and the Internet

Anyone who has been reading my posts knows that I’m a recent divorcee’ (less than a year since the filing). Rebuilding my life has not been the easiest thing, but I’m moving forward each day and, looking back to last fall, I feel I’ve made huge progress.

I’m waiting for life to settle into some sort of order. But, I guess this is actually how my life always has been – chaotic – and I’m not sure I’d know what to do if it wasn’t.

Three years ago, my family and I uprooted from out east (PA/NJ) back to my home state of Ohio. I’ve had three jobs in the time I’ve been here and have been humbled so incredibly much since the move. I don’t even think I can explain the changes I’ve undergone because I don’t really understand them yet.

I have reconnected with childhood friends, but don’t go out often for a variety of reasons. With all of these recent changes, I’ve found myself incredibly lonely because I’m not growing roots. I like change. I don’t fear it. I actually enjoy the challenge of new experiences. But I’m tired. I want to take a breath and know where I’ll be in a year or two or five. I want to have people I’ve known for more than one year and know me, my work and skills. People who really know who I am.

The title of this blog is loneliness and the internet, but could have been all sorts of different things. The reason I started writing this was to say that it has been an amazing ride this whole internet thing. My “virtual friends” are primarily people I’ve known since elementary school and college, but many are people I’ve met along the way. Some I’ve never met, but deal with the same medical condition as I do and others are simply friends of friends. Without this support system, I’m not sure where I’d be right now.

The upside is I can log on to social media and hear different perspectives, find motivation and reach out to whomever almost at any hour. The down side is the highlights reels that I’ve mentioned before. Sometimes social media reinforces how I’m not living up to my potential: How many opportunities I’ve missed in life. The worst part is – because of social media, I can sit at home feeding my lack of social skills and still have a social life.

Social media, and even this forum of writing to connect with people, was not available when I was growing up. For that I am thankful because my indiscretions and sometimes manic behavior was not captured. But, I know I would have felt less alone in my down periods had I know there were other people like me.

I am infinitely thankful for the people I can reach out to actively and passively to share my experiences, my thoughts, my moments, as well as share in their lives – their successes and other moments. The entire “internet thing” has made me a little less lonely from day to day while I rebuild my life. I can’t see me dropping my online activities even after I’m “rebuilt,” because I enjoy it. It’s a voyeuristic activity that is fun, crazy, fascinating and sometimes even a little disturbing. I am in awe of the people who program and design and will be forever thankful.

The world doesn’t seem so large when, with a click of a mouse, you can connect to others like you.

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Patricia J Grace

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