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I’m not lonely. Alone and loneliness are two different things. This morning I met my friend A. (who I wrote about for an article I published in Good Housekeeping magazine) for coffee and we shot the breeze. Sitting outside in the morning air with a friend before the sun started beating down was a nice way to start the day.
And then we each went our separate ways; A. back to her family and me back to my apartment and to my rescue dog Shelby, to recharge my batteries, to write, and work on my mental health business. That’s my idea of a pretty good day.
I have excellent friends. I have social worker friends from when I used to work at my job in Queens — the job that went south after I attempted suicide in 2014. These friends knew me at my darkest and I don’t have to put any fronts up for them. They accept me for who I am and love me unconditionally. We all meet for dinner about once a month in Queens, near our old office (the office moved locations about five years ago) and we usually have a great time.
Speaking of unconditional love, I have to mention my brother. He is my best friend, staunchest supporter, and biggest cheerleader. I don’t know where I’d be without him. It’s great to finally have a relationship with him as an equal, not as his sick sister. He lives about 30 minutes away, and while we may not see each other as often as we’d like (I’m working six days a week right now), we often check in with each other with calls and/or texts.
I have my writing friends. Writers are a community. Right now I’m not in a class or workshop. There is a workshop I’d love to take but it conflicts with one of my late nights at work. I’m starting to freelance which means the last 15 years of writing, participating in workshops—giving and receiving feedback—submissions, acceptances, and rejections, mostly rejections, have begun to pay off. Thank you to all my instructors, classmates, and everyone who has given me feedback and encouragement along the way. Writers are truly a community.
I have my entrepreneurial friends. In 2018, when I had the idea for my business, I took a beginning 60-hour entrepreneur class. I enjoyed the class and my classmates. After the class ended, a group of us met regularly for support, to exchange ideas, accountability, and to have fun while doing all of the above. In 2021, I signed up for What If, a course run by VC Stephen Hayes who dealt with bipolar disorder and addiction. He developed What If as an 8-week behavioral healthcare startup accelerator program. I was on the explorer track, so I didn’t get to pitch my business, but once I have some revenue, I can return as a builder. All the cohorts are on the same Slack channel, so we all stay in touch and updated with what each other is doing. Simultaneously, I became a part of Ossining Innovates (OI), a more local accelerator program for entrepreneurs that helped me pivot and shape BWellBStrong into the business model it is today. OI was a small program with only nine participants so we all got to know each other well and I’m still in touch with some of my classmates today.
And then I have several friends I can’t categorize as coming from anywhere in particular and extended family such as cousins who live in various parts of the country, such as Florida and Louisiana.
So yes, I live alone, but I’m far from lonely. I have an active social life with friends and family and it’s actually work to strike what I consider an ideal balance between alone time and social time.
Source: © Andrea Rosenhaft