When I was living in Chicago, I went through a lonely period. All of my good friends had left the city to settle down, and I was still there, working at this small ad agency that was going out of business. Almost everyone had been laid-off, so I didn’t even have co-workers to hang out with. I was between boyfriends.
I was 26. I was all alone.
During this time, I was going to this big Presbyterian Church on Michigan Avenue that had a counseling center that put on helpful, not-too-churchy seminars: dealing with bereavement, balancing work/family, stuff like that. So one day when I read in the bulletin about an upcoming seminar called “How to Deal with Loneliness” I thought why not? Maybe I could get a few tips. Plus with Chicago being such a big city, I figured I probably wouldn’t know anyone there, so I wouldn’t feel like a total loser. I called and registered.
Three or four weeks later, I got this call at work from someone at the counseling center. She told me that unfortunately, they’d needed to cancel the loneliness seminar.
“Okay,” I said. “Thanks for calling. I’m curious though, why did they cancel it?”
She sounded nervous, “Um, I guess there was a lack of participation.”
“Really? How many people signed up for it?”
“You were the only one.”
I swear to God.
I started laughing. “Well, I guess that makes me pretty lonely then”.
I’m sure she thought I would jump off a bridge. Imagine that: You are the only one in the entire city of Chicago that signs up for a “How to Deal with Loneliness” seminar.