You pull the keychain out of your pocket, and notice how many keys you have that you never use anymore. You find the well-worn apartment key, and jam it into the lock. There is a certain art to getting the door open, and you’ve mastered it after two years of the monotony of the task. Lift up on the key, left a little, then all the way to the right, and a nudge with your knee.
You wonder what new things await you in the other side of the door, after you have returned from your business trip to Indianapolis. Nothing has changed, though. No one is there to greet you. No one whose ears will perk up at the sound of you fumbling with the lock, or a face that will light up when they first see you. The room is quiet, almost silent except for the ordinary sounds of city life that slip through the gaps between the windows.
You live in a city where a million people live within a few miles of the solitary world you dwell in. You chose to live in the city because of the fact that there were so many people and opportunities. You thought you would find your place. Instead, you go home, and live as a near shut-in.
You go to your computer, and plug in for the night. The glow of the screen is casting shadows on the wall behind you. You like to keep your room dark, and no one is there to criticize you about that. You get up occasionally to use the bathroom or microwave a meal. You don’t really cook much, because no one has ever taught you. You only get a nice meal when you go out to the various upscale eateries in the nice part of town, but even then you eat alone in silence. People see you as a shy person, but it is much more than that.
Once you can barely hold your eyes open any longer, you fall asleep. Another successful day completed in your eyes. Another day wasted in another’s.
On the train, it is quiet. You talk to no one. You keep your head down, and keep your daily routines. You get coffee near the massive building you work at, but that interaction is formal at the most. When you return home, you go to the comfort of your computer. You turn on the TV to provide background noise, while you live out your life virtually. It is so much easier to do this than to go outside in the chaos of the big city.
The world can be a lonely place, even with so many people around. Everyone gets so absorbed in their lives that it can be easy to fall into solace. No one talks to each other in public. Meeting new people is awkward. No one starts conversations. That is a good reason there are so many misunderstandings.
Being alone can be a fantastic experience. When being alone becomes unhealthy is when it starts to consume your entire life. Life is meant to be shared with others, not kept to yourself, separated from society. People have brilliant ideas that are never recognized because they did not venture out and share their experiences with new people. It is a shame that so many people have resorted to this kind of life now. Take advantage of every day given to you and meet new people. Do not be afraid to start a conversation with a stranger. Do not be afraid to sit next to new people in classes. Especially for seniors going off to college, get ready to meet new people. Do not allow yourself to fall into a detrimental routine of never going out and not experiencing what your new environment has to offer. Challenge yourself to not become the type of person I have described.
Our homes can be fortresses of despair, where nothing but self-loathing grows. It is so easy to become a shut-in that only leaves to eat and go to work. We get stuck into a pattern, and become part of the machine. This kind of life is not worth living, and I call on you to break outside this painful monotony. Lives are worth too much to waste.