Friday, June 10, 2011
How to be alone
Do you like being along? I literally crave it, especially when I haven't had enough time on my own.
Some people don't know this, but I went through a divorce in my late twenties. During this process, I realized I had not spent much, if any, time completely alone. I went from high school and living with my parents and siblings, to university and living with assorted roommates, to getting married to my high school boyfriend directly after university and then sharing an apartment with him, to divorce five years later.
What frightened me the most was the the prospect of being alone, or more properly, being lonely.
It didn't happen.
I loved the freedom of listening to my music, eating whatever I wanted or not at all, wearing what I wanted without comments, walking all over the city, or just sitting quietly on the sofa with a book (and my phone unplugged and stuffed in a drawer.) I bought a bike and cycled all over downtown Toronto, over to the island on summer evenings with a sandwich and Newcastle Brown in the basket (Newcastle Brown because it is meant to be served at room temperature.) I dined in fancy restaurants alone, attended concerts on a whim, art gallery openings, as much as I could cram into my new life. I forced myself do it at first, but after a while, walking into a room alone became comfortable.
Now I'm quite happy to spend time with my wonderful, patient husband of 25+ years, and my now-grown kids, and my friends, but if I don't have chunks of time where I'm alone, I get antsy. Is it a writer thing? I suppose artists and musicians probably feel that way too, but I know writers in particular can be a solitary bunch, happily living with the people in their heads. Friends sometimes call me a hermit. My non-writer friends, I should add. I find it hard to explain why I need this time, but I do.
...lonely is a freedom that breathes easy and weightless, and lonely is healing if you make it...
...if you're happy in your head, then solitude is blessed and alone is okay...
from a poem by Tanya Davis, more here:
nod to Helene Boudreau for the link
Do you need time alone?
Or are you happiest when surrounded by lots of people?