A German-American theologian and philosopher by the name of Paul Tillich (1886-1965) explained the difference between solitude and loneliness like this:
Our language has wisely sensed the two sides of being alone. It has created the word loneliness to express the pain of being alone. And it has created the word solitude to express the glory of being alone.
After reading this, I decided that it probably would be a good subject to discuss concerning the previous two texts in the Solitude-series. After I realized that I had basically lost all my friends, I most definitely felt lonely, and that loneliness was in no sense a good one. I dwelled in the situation, mourned what was lost, at my failiours and at my fate. I hated life. I didn't see the point in continue living without my friends, without anyone. My family was there of course, but I simply took them for granted and didn't realize that I never would be lonely as long as I had them. The English biologist and politican John Lubbock (1834-1913) said that:
The whole value of solitude depends upon one's self; it may be a sanctuary or a prison, a haven of repose or a place of punishment, a heaven or a hell, as we ourselves make it.
So I most certainly chose my own hell and for a long time, that's where I lived. But then one day I woke up and realized something (some would call it an insight). I realized that sure, I lost my friends, but it wasn't by my hand. The situation I was in at the time of loosing them forced this to happen. Of course it wasn't what I wanted, but it happened and now I have to deal with it. Then I heard the laughter from downstairs (I was staying at mum's place at the time) and realized that I'm not lonely at all!
In this society, it's considered wierd not to have friends. And sure, I still have a handfull of people I treasure deeply and are honored to call my friends, but they are scattered around the world and I have no possibility to meet them or even talk to them as much as I would like to. But what's most important is that I'm not that lonely after all. I have people to talk to when I'm sad. Most people may go to a friend for advice. I go to my sister. Some people have girls' nights out, I drink beer with my brothers.
I'm not going to lie. I miss having friends, I really do. And I wish that sometimes, just sometimes, I would be invited to one of those girls' nights out, even if I can't come. Being asked to join feels just as important as to actually join. But I also know that new people will enter my life and that some of them will be my friends. The worst you can do is to actually look for them. Better to give it time. The right people always show up when you expect it the least.