Over the last two years and a bit that I’ve been hanging out at AVEN and polluting the fora (and the flauna????) , there have been more than a few threads about lonliness. A few have mentioned lonliness in their titles, and two such threads at least have had new posts this week. Problems with lonliness, how to deal with it, why it happens, etc. And how many threads have there been about avenisti who have been abandoned by their closest friends when said friend finds a regular sex partner? Well, I’m not going to say anything new, necessarily, but I might parse it a little differently. I don’t mean to minimize the validity and depth of these feelings and complaints, but, for me, next to what I want to whine about, lonliness pales into insignificance. Which is what I want to whine about. Insignificance. Although I’ve lived in a variety of community and roommate situations in the 37 years since I left the home I grew up in, I have always been a fairly solitary person. A veritable recluse. This does not bother me. I have long since grown used to it. I enjoy it. Not being tied down, I have been able to jump at some opportunities for which my sexual acquaintances envied me. I have been able to change careers and continent of residence on short notice without having to consult anyone. If I get a wild desire to drive a hundred miles in the middle of the night for a sandwich, off I go. Whatever. I enjoy, and have always enjoyed, a lot more freedom and creativity in how I manage my life than any of my sexual acquaintances. Being alone, to me, is a walk in the park. Being insignificant is another matter altogether. I have not been the most significant person in someone else’s life since I was 17. Various people for various amounts of time and various reasons have been the most significant people in my life, but I have not fulfilled that role for another person for almost 40 years. Yes, there are people who love me, who care what happens to me, on whom I can call in an emergency. But there is no one to whom I matter more than anyone else. With most of the people who mean something to me, I am the one who keeps the contact alive. This is oddly truer with family members than it is with friends. Only one family member regularly calls me. About the only time I hear from the rest of them is when I contct them. Same with most of my friends and acquaintances. If I wait for them to contact me, I might wait a long time. In some cases, years. I’m not at or near the tops of their lists. I’m expected to be there when they contact me, however rare that is, but if someone else comes across their radar, I’m the contact that gets dropped. Surprisingly often, people who do contact me put me on hold to take another call, or disappear for long periods from IM windows, often to close them and log off without a parting word in what I regard as the middle of a conversation. No matter how much I matter, someone else always matters more. No matter how much I mean to someone, someone else means more to them than I do. No matter how significant I am to others, others are more significant than I am. Socially, professionally, personally. I am never first to anyone. Lonely? I can do lonely standing on my head. Lonely is a Sunday-school picnic. Lonely is a walk in the park. Always being less significant, less important, always mattering less than someone else, in every relationship and circumstance in life? That shit gets old after a few decades. So, my younger avenisti friends, my advice to you (aside from raising more hell and fewer dahlias) is to gather ye rodebuds while ye may. (What? You thought I was going to end up talking about sleds?!?!?) Old time, he’s still a-flying. If you are of the romantic persuasion, go for it. If you aren’t, well, you could turn out like me. You may think that’s a bad thing. In spite of all my whining, I don’t. It’s part of the essence of who I am. Every life has its downside. That’s the downside of mine. It’s the price I pay for the freedom, such as it is, that I cherish. I am not the most significant person in anyone else’s life. But there is nobody out there, and there hasn’t been for decades, who has any control over me in a way that can keep me from doing what I want.