Down and Out in Toronto and London.

31 December 2016. Loneliness is hearing the sound of your own footsteps in the middle of a busy metropolis.

Didn’t take too long ‘fore I found out … What people mean by down and out. ¹

It is the growing number of people who feel they are no longer useful, no longer needed, no longer one with their societies. In America today, compared with 50 years ago, three times as many working-age men are completely outside the work force. This pattern is occurring throughout the developed world — and the consequences are not merely economic. Feeling superfluous is a blow to the human spirit. It leads to social isolation and emotional pain, and creates the conditions for negative emotions to take root.²

It’s been 909 days since I was cast out of my boy’s lives. It’s been 475 days since I moved back to Toronto for good. It’s been 640 days since I plunged head-on into the abyss and came ‘home’ because I believed the boys needed me. During the ensuing days I accepted ‘homelessness’ as a result of that decision.  I’d rescued a moth-eaten copy of Orwell’s Down and Out in Paris and London from a bookshop bargain bin in London, and was now absorbing it as though it were a guidebook.

 

¹ Led Zeppelin, Black Dog, 1971
² The Dalai Lama, Arthur C. Brooks, Dalai Lama: Behind Our Anxiety, the Fear of Being Unneeded, New York Times, Nov. 4, 2016

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