We are lonely beings. If you have a partner, you may think that your love will last forever but the reality is that you will die alone or your partner will die alone unless your partner and you die at the same time. Either your partner or you will be left behind and you will be alone after all.
If you have children, it won’t be that bad. However, like us without children, the solitude is scary.
I sometimes imagine that my dead body sitting on the rocking chair will be found in some remote place in Asia where we might move to after we have gotten much older. Will my death be seen by somebody? Or, will I have someone with me at the last moment?
When my boyfriend and I went to Myanmar, we met a priest who was working in a small Catholic church. Although working for the Catholic church is a tricky business in Myanmar, he was also organising a small teaching class where the children could learn English.
He said that he was looking for an English teacher for the children because the previous teacher had just left Myanmar and that he was not good at teaching English. If I had not been with my boyfriend who works in an office for living, I might have stayed with them and taught some English in the class.
I am a freelance writer and I can work anywhere in the world as long as I can connect with the internet. Also, living in Myanmar doesn’t need much money, you work whenever you feel like working and possibly can earn enough money to live.
Unfortunately, I was not alone. I was with my boyfriend and we had to come back to Canada. So, we just gave him the information about the website where he might find a volunteer who could teach children English in his church.
The other time, in Thailand, we met a retired English guy who was helping the local tourist police as a volunteer English translator. He was very friendly and spoke to us at the bus station. He was chatting with his Thai colleagues and smiling. He looked like he was enjoying his life.
On TV, I have seen a Japanese lady who built a small school in a rural town somewhere in Africa. She was pretty old but she was smiling with the children in her school. She looked like being proud of herself.
When we have to face our loneliness, volunteer work may be one of the solutions because people all want to be needed by others.
If you spend lots of money in the shops you may be able to ‘buy’ people’s smiles, but those artificial smiles cannot replace your loneliness. By doing volunteer work you give them your labour or experience and you can gain their respect instead. When you have people’s respect, you might feel lonely less often because respect lasts longer than love.
Love is fragile. You may say that the mother’s love is reliable but your mother’s love most likely won’t stay with you all of your lifetime.
Ultimately, we all have to deal with our loneliness, more or less. We all want to be loved. We all need to be needed by someone. You need money to live, but money is not always helpful to cure your solitude. That’s why we want to connect to each other. The invisible things sometimes are much more important for your lives; love and respect.