“All the lonely people, where do they all come from? All the lonely people, where do they all belong?”

All the lonely people, where do they all come from?”

I was cycling home yesterday from my optician’s appointment and as I whizzed past a pub, the opening lines of “Eleanor Rigby” filled
the street and my consciousness for a moment. I’ve always loved that song, was actually one I could play on the guitar, but it (along with “Streets of London”) gives me a moment of intense melancholy.

Loneliness is endemic. It’s something that’s been a part of society for such a long time. Even in a big family, or a close-knit community, there will be people who are lonely. Even with a loving partner who
understands us, many of us are still deeply, painfully lonely. No
amount of hugs and cuddles or reassuring words quite take away that aching loneliness. They may displace it at times but it never goes away permanently.

The way I see it, it’s because inside my head, there is only me, however many different voices that self uses. Even though quite often I know what my husband is thinking, I don’t hear his thoughts in my head. That might be why the concept of true telepathy is so seductive and appealing.

The internet brings a greater balm to the lonely than almost anything in the last century. It can feel like someone is so on your wavelength, that they might almost be inside your head. But they’re not. Internet friends help, enormously, in getting through those times when being alone in your own head is to painful to bear; that said, they vanish without trace (and that’s another story) just when you need them. Physically present friends, or ones at the other end of a phone line can help too. Still, at three in the morning, when there’s no one to talk to, when you are totally isolated from your usual pain-relieving relationships, you are thrown back into your own deserted mind, with only yourself for company.

I’ve never liked myself much, to be honest. Perhaps the deep loneliness I feel is because the very last person I want to spend the eternity of the small hours with is myself. Perhaps that’s why I reach out to others, for that comfort, and the hope that unlike Eleanor Rigby in the song, when I die, I will not be buried along with my name and that someone will come, that I may have made some sort of a difference in the years I’ve been around. 


9 thoughts on ““All the lonely people, where do they all come from? All the lonely people, where do they all belong?”

  1. Hello Viv, thought-provoking. I am soon to post something on internet connections (again!) I am glad to read they give solace. I hope that you may also find solace in yourself. Warm wishes, Karin xx


  2. I can understand where you coming from. My brother sometimes tells me that we’re all essentially lonely and that we’re locked up entirely in our own heads. I can agree with that but I don’t want to agree with it because its a counsel of despair. I say to him, well imagine if you were locked up in solitary confinement for a year – a physical embodiment of exactly that philosophy. How would you feel? Of course it would be terrible and soul-destroying. Which means to me that the people around us do count for a great deal, that we can’t be as lonely as that philosophy counsels.

    I also think the modern condition and its political and social form has a great deal to do with it, plus the endemic class system which persists despite claims to the contrary. This tells me it isn’t part of the human condition. It gives me hope that things may change for the better.

    Sometimes I don’t like myself much, especially when I go over what I could have done/ought to have done etc. But more importantly I am bored with my own company. That why I read books, not because of what they say, but when they are well written you are in the company of some-one else.


  3. I’ve been fighting the black dog lately. It’s been tough. I try to live in the moment. When insomnia strikes, I play, read, listen to my iPod. I have never played well with others. I have to give up that kind of group work. I am realizing my differences from others. I accept myself. Thanks for voicing some of my issues in yours!


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