The loneliest place

The loneliest place has billions of people on it.

The loneliest place promises to connect us with these billions of people worldwide, at any given time of the day.

The loneliest place is where we spend the majority of our time.

The loneliest place is full of noise, chats, arguments.

The loneliest place is supposed to make us feel less lonely.

Not long ago, I used to spend a lot of my time at the loneliest place; engrossed, addicted, alone.

Lately, I try to spend more time with people in real time. A phone call would do, even a text.

I cannot spend another moment of my morning, afternoon, evening at the loneliest place: scrolling, watching, scrolling, reading, scrolling, posting… all alone. The thought of it fills me with dread.

It’s a shame I wasted so much of my youth at the loneliest place. It felt so normal. Everyone was at the lonely place; liking, commenting, posting, watching, reading, following, unfollowing. I didn’t consider the alternative then.

There are alternatives.

I wish I texted less paragraphs and argued more. I wish I spent more time laughing with people and less at Vine videos. I wish I tweeted less #mensuck and dated more. I wish I liked more people instead of more posts. I wish I scrolled less and connected more. I wish I didn’t cancel plans to escape to the loneliest place.

The internet is the loneliest place. It might seem counter intuitive. How could a place full of all these people, noise, entertainment can be the loneliest place? That’s exactly how: Too much but never enough. It’s pseudo relationship. It’s the idea of connection.

To be everywhere is to be nowhere,” Seneca writes in Letters from a Stoic.

The internet can be a good place to meet people, like the bar, but if the relationship never moves away from Twitter, or drinking, it’s just that- and maybe those relationships are important, but if you all you got is Twitter followers, or drinking buddies, well that’s too bad.

My husband said to me how can you have a relationship with someone you can turn off, log out from, sign off on. Right. Reality affords us consideration for those around us. I can’t turn off someone I’m having a conversation with in real time; I owe them that much: they owe me that much.

I no longer believe in the promise of the internet.

It is no place to build actual communities, connections, and relationships. It takes away the raw experience of connecting in real life; like having to flinch every time your sister laughs because she’ll smack you during a laughing fit, or the delightful sound of laughter that can never be captured by typing out LOL, or the sound of a voice breaking- with joy or sadness, or realizing how often you sound lame without the ability to edit what you want to say.

Messy, but infinitely better than the loneliest place, more human, and definitely worth the effort real life requires.

Until next time,

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