On Being Lonely

“Transform the pain of loneliness into the glory of solitude.”


Being a stay-at-home mom is a lonely job.  Sometimes I go the entire day, maybe even two, without having a meaningful conversation with an adult.  Sure, I talk with my husband and my mama, my two best friends, every day.  I see my wonderful sister and dad almost every weekend.  I try to catch up with my long distance friends once a week, although it is challenging to talk on the phone with my little ones around needing constant attention.  When I can, I spend time with my (few) close friends; a quick lunch, a dinner date, or a hike.

Yes, I casually talk with other mamas at gymnastics, the park, our playdates, preschool drop-off and pick-up.  I chat briefly with the cashiers at Trader Joe’s and Vons; they know us well!  And Facebook, as impersonal as it can be, keeps me “in touch” with the real world.

I am grateful for these interactions.  I live for these interactions.

But those day-to-day, simple and fun adult relationships that I used to enjoy when I was working, before I had kids and became CEO of my household, are gone.  And, friends, sometimes I’m lonely.

Don’t get me wrong and please don’t think I am complaining — I love my job.  I would not trade this amazing experience, this lucky opportunity and blessing, for anything.  But some days the loneliness is overwhelming and painful.  And that is when I turn to running.


It doesn’t make sense, really, because I almost always run alone!  One would think that this would add to my loneliness.  But in running, the pain of loneliness is transformed into the glory of solitude.  In running, I am choosing to be alone.  I am able to be quiet with my thoughts, my goals, my breath and my stride.  And in those glorious moments when I am running, I am not lonely.

Being solitary is being alone well: being alone luxuriously immersed in doings of your own choice, aware of the fullness of your own presence rather than of the absence of others. Because solitude is an achievement.