OPINION: I have been a regular reader for a number of years now, the last couple of decades in particular. Not so long ago, I was reading around 40 books each year.
He had been born, raised and schooled in one of our major cities; unlike me, born, raised and schooled in a small farming community. I had worked on my own a lot and enjoyed the quiet and more remote side of life. The more isolated it got, the happier I was.
He was pretty much the opposite; he liked people noise being around him constantly. He seemed to find the quiet more than a little unnerving. I well remember being out fencing with him and having to listen to his jolly transistor radio keeping us "company" all day! As the saying goes; "different strokes for different folks" I guess.
Since that time, I have met more than just a few people who are rather like him - they find the quiet unnerving and hard to handle. People noise is needed, so the radio is kept on, or the TV, for every waking moment. It goes on when they get up and the remote is finally pushed for bedtime at the end of the day. They keep it on for company, I usually get told.
From my journey and experiences with people, a couple of things come to mind here for me. The first is that some people seem to need constant noise or stuff happening so they don't have to think too seriously about life's meaning, or life's ups and downs. Just the thought of being alone, plus having no cell phone signal, or games to play, would be inviting trauma and cold sweats.
For me though, I'd love every moment. I do my best and deepest thinking without a lot of noise and needless petty distractions. And I am not troubled in the least by my own company!
The second thing I've observed is that many people are actually very lonely.
Life is racing on by and they are feeling lonely and left behind. So, keeping busy, busy, busy - mixed in with hurry, hurry, hurry - with TV "people" for company in the background; this seems to be their way of coping with the ever present nagging loneliness.
The truth is you can be alone yet not be lonely. Or you can have lots of people stuff happening all around you, and yet still be haunted by loneliness. Personally, I think 'alone' is good therapy for all of us; some unhurried deeper thinking is healthy. However, loneliness that hangs around is never good therapy, nor is it healthy.
Certainly, true friends can be a huge help here with this. But I'm reasonably sure you will have discovered by now, there are friends - and then - there are friends!
True friends will walk in after your fair-weather friends have walked out on you. And in times of pressure, you may well find you don't have as many friends as you thought you had.
To add another thought in here, being involved in things that help and add value to others, is usually a great tonic for one's own soul. In supporting and lifting others, somehow you find yourself getting helped as well.
Here's a great quote in support of that: "If you want to lift yourself up, lift up someone else." - Booker T Washington
It would be remiss of me not to wrap up my column here today without a quote from The Good Book: "But there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother."
I agree, and yes, I am thankful to have experienced that friendship so many times.