Now that I'm back in Long Beach, loneliness takes on a different form. It's knowing all sorts of people, but never really feeling connected, or familiar. It's knowing where everything is, but still not knowing where to go. Loneliness here feels distinctly sharper because I feel like I should not be lonely. I am surrounded by friends, family, coworkers. Yet I have this sort of loneliness hanging over me, which could potentially be attributed to post-study abroad blues. It's been a solid 4 months since I've been back, so I can't fully agree with that idea.
Maybe it's the growing need for connectivity via phones, computers, television. Everything is connected to everything. You can't open a Spotify account without being asked to link your facebook. You can't read an article without the website suggesting to share said article on facebook, twitter, or whatever else. You can't use MapMyRide without the app asking if you want to share your most recent run with your friends. All these things are meant to make us feel closer, more in tune. more connected. But, really, it just pushes us further and further apart. I feel like there's a growing anxiety about social media- one that preys on our inherent need to belong. That anxiety is a result of being able to see when a person read a message, or being constantly able to check what other people are doing, thinking, liking. Just the idea of posting something and viewing how many likes you can get...it's a bizarre new social world we live in.
But I digress. This is about loneliness, which I feel can be facilitated by technology. But is also a result of working too much and trying to coordinate schedules with family and friends. It's living in a more isolated environment, it's living far away enough to have to drive places, it's just a different sort of loneliness.
It's not all bad. It's not all loneliness. In my 4 months back there have also been plenty of smiles and laughing and good (really great) times with friends and family. It's not all bad, certainly. Life is good, but it wouldn't be life without the downs to balance the ups.
Also, wouldn't it be better if I could just be in England all the time? It would.
Your Broad (No Longer) Abroad,