New York City is by far one of the loneliest places I have encountered.
When I tell my non-city friends this, I am undoubtedly met with a face smeared with confusion. “That doesn’t make any sense...there’s literally people everywhere...stop being so dramatic.”
But if you were to confront a fellow New Yorker, preferably one with a year or two under their belt, you are more than likely to be met with a nod of agreement.
Now, there are exceptions to this. If you just so happen to be the “social butterfly” type, maybe this piece doesn’t apply to you. (Look very hard into the mirror and make sure you aren’t lying to yourself before you claim this as your truth.) But whether you choose to believe me or not, there will come a time where you’re stuffed like a sardine on a subway car with no air conditioning, bodies sticking to you from all angles, and you will feel like you are the only living thing in the world, and everything else is just part of the scenery.
Thankfully, I have devised a list to turn to when said loneliness decides to rear its drooping face again. From one lonely person to another, here’s how to cope and grow from the pains of solitude.
- Communicate with yourself. Sit down and acknowledge what’s stewing in that head of yours. Write about it, talk to the wall, whisper it into your pillow at night.
- Find a park, your park. Walk in your park. Sit in your park. Spend hours upon hours in your park. This will become your saving grace when you feel nonexistent. And while you’re there, try reading Henry David Thoreau’s compelling case for solidarity.
- Don’t attempt to dissolve your loneliness by placing yourself in unnatural social situations. Forcing yourself to be around others that you would not intuitively connect with will only exaggerate your internal struggle.
- Devote yourself to being lonely. No, this does not mean sit in a dark room under a copious amount of blankets and convince yourself that you deserve this. This means purposefully spend a day, or a few days, alone with yourself and your thoughts. Look around you and see that even that you’re alone, you’re still okay. You’re still breathing. And if you need any more information about accepting solidarity, try this link to the Handbook of Solitude.
- Use this time to thoroughly evaluate your mental being. Take advantage of this self-involved state to manifest the best version of yourself, because when life start to pick up again, things may will begin to slip, you may begin to slip.
- Find something you’re really passionate about. I’m not saying “get a hobby.” I’m saying, find something that makes you feel puissant and powerful, something you can get lost in, that makes you feel full. This can definitely take some time, but that’s how you know it’s worth your time.
- Know that it’s not going to always be like this. Moving to a city, or The City, can be an incomparable change for some. Over time, you will begin to wear down the concrete, and the harsh edges of the architecture will begin to soften. You will become familiar with the cracks in the sidewalk, or the face staring back at you at your corner deli.
- Embrace It. This is a pretty boring and moderately pretentious tip, but it’s an important one. Learning how to be alone and to actually enjoy it is absolutely paramount to learning how to get through life without having some kind of constant freak out. Find the significance in being alone, for there are so many different drops of importance that pour out when you wring out your loneliness.
Here are some other helpful links: