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Lonely in Manhattan

by KB 6 months ago in coping

Dealing with post-pandemic loneliness, solace, and social anxieties.

Lonely in Manhattan
Photo by Anthony Fomin on Unsplash

1.6 million people live in Manhattan. That’s excluding the outer boroughs, the commuters, and tourists.

And yet, I sit in my white-walled apartment alone on a Friday night.

I’m not exactly sad or lonely, but somehow the feeling of disappointment is gutted in my stomach.

Living in such a big city, you would think it would be impossible to be lonely, that you would always be searching for “me time,” running from one place to the next and never getting a chance to breathe.

For someone like myself, an inherent introvert who becomes an extrovert around those I trust, I tend to find a sense of peace, mixed with guilt, for being alone in such a big city.

I feel like I should be going out, exploring, making new experiences, and constantly hanging out with friends. That’s what it’s like for many people around me. But newly coming out of a pandemic, after a year of maintaining tranquility inside of the storm that is this virus, I don’t necessarily want to go out.

I genuinely want to sit at home watching Gilmore Girls, knitting my yellow and green cardigan...even in the summer.

It seems that right as I have found solace during this time, I am catapulted out of equanimity and tossed back into the mixing bowl of reality.

As I walk through the streets filled with fashionable friends and powerful women, feelings arise that make me wonder if I am missing out: the big FOMO.

Fear Of Missing Out.

How is it that I have FOMO but do not want to partake in any social outings?

This social shock is unlike any previous experience...for everyone. We’re all figuring out how to navigate life after a pandemic. However, we’re not totally out of the woods yet - which adds to all of this confusion. For personal reasons, I am still cautious when leaving my house or being in areas where I don’t know if people are vaccinated. Yes, this is my preference, but I know many other people are also dealing with the difficulties of saying “no” now that there isn’t a clear-cut excuse.

One of the things I did learn in the pandemic was to say no. Even though it has become more complicated now, I know I need to take time for myself, especially since my social battery runs out much more quickly.

In short: I’m comfortable being alone but still have FOMO. I am able to go out, but in moderation; my social anxiety is more taxing than pre-covid. And while I have made decisions that are best for me, I still feel guilty for my choices.

Now, I am in the process of removing the “buts” and turning them into “ands.” I am trying to validate my experiences and feelings, take note, and understand why I feel a certain way.

I’ve done much of this work through writing and journaling. Seeing my thoughts on a page has an interesting way of validating these juxtaposing feelings. I’ve also had the difficult conversations that come when people don’t exactly think the same as myself...while simultaneously expressing these thoughts to those I trust. And when I do feel comfortable seeing others, I do so with the people in my life who are entirely understanding.

These outlets continue to help me grasp and interpret what is going on within and around me.

And through this all, I’ve begun to comprehend the difference between my feelings of loneliness and simply being alone:

It’s okay to be alone in Manhattan. Even with the millions of people busily roaming the streets and even with my friends going out to the bars on Friday nights.

I’m not missing out if I am putting myself first.

My personal time is what gives me energy and motivation.

And it’s okay to be lonely in Manhattan too. If I am feeling lonely, I need to recognize it and take action - it’s still important to go out and enjoy the city.

Taking a little bit of both and find a balance that works for me.

coping

KB

A snippet of life. Some real, some not. Thanks for reading!

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