Wednesday, October 24, 2007


When some people use the word "lonely," they often mean something fairly different from my definition of the word. Often when people say that they are lonely they mean simply that they aren't having sex as often as they would prefer. That's, I suppose, one definition.

At first I thought there were only two definitions—actual loneliness, and turgidity-of-reproductive-organ loneliness—but now I think that there are at least three. I think that some people are lonely like they're lonely for a million dollars. I would like a million dollars, but I have no valid reason to expect a million dollars, so it causes me no real pain that I don't have a million dollars. I think that's the key. Ideally, I can see the value in having a companion. (I can also see the personality nuances that could make the endeavor fairly challenging.) However, it brings me no pain to know that I do not have such a companion. Therefore, by my definition, I am not lonely. (I'm purposely ignoring the fact that loneliness can also easily deal with being around multiple people, and doesn't have to be specific to a single companion.)

When I say I live alone, occasionally people will ask if I'm lonely, or just assume that I am. But I'm not. I don't yearn for someone; I simply don't have someone. The fact that I do not have someone doesn't make me depressed. I merely recognize that, at some point, I could be potentially happier with a mate. I could be happier with a million dollars also. Or, possibly some combination of the two.

Some people call that loneliness, and I think it's incorrect. Perhaps people who are themselves lonely, and assume that all other single people are too.


Anonymous said...

I think even you are narrowing your definitions a bit. There have been many times where I have felt alone. Many times when I feel this way, it is more a sense that there really isn't anyone who seems to understand me, or there is no one in who feels how I do.

I will admit that more than likely what I am talking about is more about a state of mind (and therefore not really what you are talking about here), but I think it too is a valid form of loneliness. I am sure you don't remember, but you have seen me when I've been in that state of mind.

At this current point in time I would not classify you as someone who is lonely. You are very happy where you are right now.

Just my two cents.

Travis said...

Yeah, absolutely. Once I got thinking about it more, I realized just how overloaded that term is. People use it to mean so many things, only somewhat related.

Anonymous said...

That seems to happen with words related to emotions. Personally, I think love is the most overloaded word out there. Us English speakers seem to lump very similiar feeling emotions into one word.

Travis said...

THANK YOU. I was hoping that someone would comment on "love," so I could post this:

Gob:? My God, what is this feeling?
Michael: Well, you know the-the feeling that you’re... that you’re feeling is-is what many of us call “a feeling.”
Gob: But it’s not like envy, or even hungry.
Michael: Could it be love?
Gob: I know what an erection feels like, Michael. No, it’s the opposite. It’s... it’s like my heart is getting hard.