The Difference Between Being Alone and Being Lonely

I’ve officially been in London for two weeks, and it’s definitely different than the last time I was here. But I expected that…I think. 

If you’ve heard me talk about the London program, you know that I have so much love for everyone in the program. They became family. Coming back I think I expected the same city with different people, but I actually got a different city as well. 

I’m back in my same four-person room that I once shared with three of my best friends, and no matter the day or time, someone was there. This summer I’ve been blessed with three more awesome girls as roommates who are more new to the city and want to travel all the time, which hey, I’ve been there, but that leaves more alone time for me. At first I thought, “wow that’s amazing!” Later I realized it could be dangerous. 

The problem with being alone is that you don’t have anyone keeping you responsible for your actions. Even something as simple as going to a park, if you go with someone, you have a reason to keep going. While if you’re alone, you can talk yourself out of it, which is the problem I have. 

See, last weekend I was lonely. I was back in a city that became a second home to me, feeling like all I could do was text my former London people to tell them I wish they were here with me. Now, I did go out running and walking around, I saw a show, but I only did it so that I wouldn’t spend a whole weekend in my room. 

Another issue with being lonely is the fact that your mind starts to overthink. For me, I think of it as a darkness that starts small before it overtakes your whole brain, until the darkness is all you can think about. Leaving the house didn’t help because I was obviously still alone with my thoughts, but going to musicals helped. So I booked my tickets for two shows so that even if the whole day was full of this dark cloud, I had some relief at the end of it. 

The weekend ended and I wasn’t lonely anymore, until the new weekend started. I was by myself again and didn’t know what to do. I was able to win the Book of Mormon lottery with two awesome girls who took my mind off of the darkness. I saw another show the next night and went to a pub with other people which, again, put the darkness away. The ironic thing is that during the day is when the darkness comes out, and when it’s night it goes away. 

Today, as I’m writing this, is my last day alone. But I did something different. Today I chose to be alone, instead of being lonely. I put myself in the mindset that I would get in when I went to Disneyland by myself. London was my theme park and it was time to start riding some rides. 

So, instead of rewatching Riverdale for the third time, trying to put myself in that show and perfect my personality to the perfect combination of Betty and Jughead, I’m sitting in the middle of Hyde Park writing this (and hoping I run into Cole Sprouse because, you know, he’s in town but MIA from social media), and I’m not fearing the loneliness because I know that it won’t overpower me unless I open my mind to it. This could be just a temporary fix because loneliness can sneak up on you when you least expect it, but at least right now I can see the light. 

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