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Submissions

Submission: On the solemnness of solitude

BY HAROLD SHI

Editor’s Note: The blog is pleased to announce that it accepts submissions from members of the campus community. Submissions can be thoughts and musings about the minutiae of life at UCLA and Los Angeles that make living and learning in Westwood a unique experience. Submissions can be sent to [email protected]

I can’t bear the thought of eating alone. God forbid myself if I don’t have somebody to eat with at Bruin Plate. Even worse, going to a concert. Can you imagine going to Bruin Bash by yourself, and not with your friends? Or how about the movies – have you guys seen “The Martian” yet? If not, want to come? Great.

Maybe I’ll join an on-campus organization. Like a club. Or a team sport. That does sound fun. Or perhaps a fraternity would work. I’ve always wanted to be a part of something bigger than myself and have a group of men I can call my brothers. But something doesn’t feel quite right. Hooking up last night with that girl only made me feel more empty inside. What’s going on with me, and why do I feel this way? And worse yet, why do we keep telling ourselves that things will change, when nothing really does?

I was jogging alongside the track at Drake Stadium the other night, when I realized something. It wasn’t particularly profound or eye-opening, but it did make me stop and think for a while about how many of the things we do each day, the rituals we go through and the routines we encounter, the conversations we script and the interactions we fake, the activities we participate in, the ice-breakers, the small talk, the “What’s your major?”, so on and so forth – how many of these things are motivated by something else?

In the end, I think we’re all trying to escape something. And that something is the feeling of being alone. Of being lonely.

But who knows, I could be wrong. Maybe eating by myself at Bruin Plate isn’t the worst thing in the world. But next time I go there, you can bet I’ll try and spot the one person who’s not on their phone, scrolling through Instagram, sitting with a group of people or pretending to be doing something important on their laptop.

Because I’ve realized, that the more comfortable we get with being by ourselves, and being alone, the less lonely we actually, truly feel.

So ask yourself this – when was the last time you engaged in the world around you, by yourself, for yourself and with yourself?

It’s been a while for me.

Harold is a third-year anthropology student.

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