Wednesday, April 25, 2012

TO BE OR NOT TO BE ALONE

Am I alone? NO. But often I feel very alone. I have things on my mind that I don't share with anyone because the thoughts aren't clear.

Sometimes when I feel lonely I sing, "None but the Lonely Heart," teasing my husband when he's deeply involved in watching sports.

Lately, I've seen quite a few articles on people living alone. Attitudes toward marriage and family have changed. Maybe it's a trend.

A recent front-page New York Times article says more than half of births to mothers under age 30 now occur out of wedlock. The article examines whether we are casting aside the institution of marriage, and the idea that children should be raised in stable two-parent families.

I've seen numbers in Time, Newsweek, and the NY Times -- today, out-of-wedlock births account for 73% of births among blacks, 53% among Latinos and 29% among whites. Economics plays a role -- it is harder for working-class men to get good jobs, making them marginally less marriageable. It is easier, on the other hand, for working-class women to get employment, making them marginally less dependent on men.

Maybe all this affects you. You're looking for a partner. You feel isolated from the people in your neighborhood. You're very lonely. But I have a son and a husband and we're a family. None of this explains why I sing these words: "None but the Lonely Heart, Can Know My Sadness,
Alone and Parted, Far from Joy and Gladness."

I sing it because I know that I am alone, a lone, single being, and singing about loneliness, is rueful, amusing, and cheers me up.

Yes! Sure, of course, I share many, many doings and thoughts with my husband -- about our son, about our home, finances, possessions, and pending things that have to do with his work and my work. But we are separate beings.

Wyeth portrayed aloneness as did Hopper in a way that we understand.

Wise men whom I admire, Thomas Wolfe, for instance, said: "The whole conviction of my life now rests upon the belief that loneliness, far from being a rare and curious phenomenon, is the central and inevitable fact of human existence."

Orson Welles said: "We're born alone, we live alone, we die alone. Only through our love and friendship can we create the illusion for the moment that we're not alone."

This is my favorite quote from a favorite poet philosopher, Khahil Gibran: "Love one another but make not a bond of love. Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls."

Here a great song to sing, by Stephen Sondheim.

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