The art of loneliness

I read the art of happiness many years ago. Happiness eludes all and becomes a destination instead of a journey. It is one of those books that stay, not the book itself, the ideas shared stay. Like Ann Frank & her diary of life in hiding. Or the story of Mandela’s life. You don’t have to read or hear it again. Once you’ve heard it or read it, it stays.

In Stockholm, we seem to chase loneliness with the same fervor we chase happiness. In the building I live in, we are 6 households. We say hello when we meet in the stairways outside. That’s it. Otherwise we avoid each other. Actively. If we are grilling at the balcony, and our neighbor is grilling at their balcony, we see each other, we smile, wave or say hello, speak shortly about what nice weather it is & then we spend the rest of the time avoiding contact.

Am as guilty as the neighbor.

And then people in apartments sharing a garden and balconies, grilling facing each other; you hear that a neighbor has killed themselves. Or died and remained home, dead for a few weeks & nobody suspected. Or the neighbor hurt the wife/husband, badly.

Why do people spend so much time avoiding each other? Afraid? While inside, we are dying of loneliness. We know we need other people, we need hugs, we need to laugh, we need to talk when we are happy & when we are unhappy. So why do we spend so much energy avoiding each other and searching for loneliness?