Does One Have to be the Loneliest Number?

 I love doing Zumba. As a Christian school teacher, I don’t get many opportunities to dance. Zumba, however, lets me unleash my inner salsa dancer and I can shake and shimmy to my heart’s content.

So when I saw that my library was hosting a Zumba class I was quick to sign up. On the appointed day I eagerly headed to the library’s basement, ready to swivel. The room, however, was empty except for the instructor.

No pulsing music.

No energetic women bouncing around.

Just an instructor sitting in a chair, checking her cellphone.

She looked up and said hello, telling me that it might just be her and me for the class.

Oh. Awkward. Do Zumba by yourself with the teacher watching you the whole time?

No, thank you.

I’m not proud of this, but I told her I’d left something in my car. Then I dashed out and drove away. I honestly didn’t know what else to do, but I sure as heck wasn’t Zumba-ing alone.

One is the loneliest number

In 1968, singer/ songwriter Harry Nilsson came out with the song, “One (Is the Loneliest Number).” The popularity of this song turned the first line into a catchphrase. More than fifty years later, people are still quick to remind each other, “One is the loneliest number.”

When you’re expected to Zumba in a large room by yourself that is absolutely true.  

One can feel very lonely.

But does one always have to feel like the loneliest number?

I did some internet research to see what other people had to say about this song and its famous phrase. For starters, there were a lot of really smart math people out there who went on about one not being lonely because it’s an integer in every number or something like that.

So not what I was looking for. You’re welcome to keep that information.

Here’s what I did find interesting- While the math people dealt with cold, hard facts, those who weren’t mathematicians all seemed to base their opinions on how they FELT.

The people who were struggling with being alone were the ones who felt lonely. They talked about how it felt to come home to an empty house, how it felt to eat dinner by themselves, and how it felt to attend social events on their own.

Their focus was entirely on their feelings, and I’m sure most of them would wholeheartedly agree that one is indeed the loneliest number.

Thoughts on loneliness have been rattling around in my head lately. See, I finished up school this week. I love teaching, but it eats up a lot of my time. I wake up at 5:30 and it’s pretty much “go, go, go” all day long. The busy days make it easy to stuff down feelings of loneliness.

Summer is different. I run a small day camp, but it’s a far more relaxed schedule, which means I have a lot more free time. Beautiful, glorious free time.

It’s great, but often the extra time seems to sing along with Harry Nilsson, “One is the loneliest number.”

I am frequently reminded- I am a “one.” As a single woman with no kids, there are a lot of summer activities that either pass me by or I have to do on my own.

It can be very easy to feel lonely and get down.

One doesn’t have to be the loneliest number!

Feelings are deceptive. They don’t tell us the truth. Instead, they feed off of our emotions and circumstances, and we all know how reliable our emotions are!

Single friends, we are not ruled by our emotions! This is something I need to remind myself of all the time, but it’s true! I do NOT have to base my point of view on how I feel, or on how others tell me I should feel.

I don’t want to waste my summer on feelings of sadness or loneliness. Instead, I want to continue to work on living with intentionality, to use my free time with purpose:

Reconnect with my neighbors

Spend more time on prayer and Scripture reading

Find ways to volunteer in my community

Work on getting healthier

Hang out with my nieces and nephews

Explore new places in my city

Finish the book that’s been sitting next to my chair since Christmas

I’ll probably avoid Zumba classes at the library, though.

It’s got the potential to be a great summer, and I’m looking forward to it. I hope you are, too. Don’t let your feelings dictate what you do or prevent you from having an exciting, meaningful summer. Talk truth to yourself instead and remember-  

One doesn’t have to be lonely at all.

This week, I’m thankful for the blessing of extra time. It does not have to feel lonely! Together, let’s celebrate every SINGLE blessing!

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