Thursday, May 31, 2018
The joys of solitude
As an adult, I definitely find this to be true. I need both my solitude and my socialization. If I spend too much time surrounded by other people, I get cranky. I will find myself irritated and just edgy. On the other hand, if I spend too much time alone, I get somewhat depressed. I need both to balance me.
I spend a lot of time alone. I don't work outside the home, and we have one car, so half the time, when hubby is working (when he is on day shift), I won't have access to a car, so am pretty much stuck at home. Typically speaking this doesn't bother me. I might be a little more tilted towards being introverted now, as I can spend time interacting with people digitally, to help assuage my need for socialization, combined with meeting up with friends on the weekend (and of course, spending time with my family at home).
And, while we definitely do stuff together as a family (right now we are pretty into board games), we each also have our own personal pursuits, so even when we are all at home, we might be doing things on our own.
But there is a special quality to being truly alone (or at least being the only one awake). For me, when my son was in school, this often meant mornings. After he went off to school, if hubby was on night shift or at work, it was just me. I would be alone for most of the day. Now that son is out of school, it typically means late night (but since I don't have to get up early, that works too).
Time seems to move differently, when I am alone. There is a lessening of pressure, there are no expectations. I don't always sit in silence, but when I do, either inside my house, or standing outside tasting the night air, I am more aware of my surroundings, in a way that goes beyond my standard senses.
For me, this is a kind of medicine, a necessary thing. I can tell when I'm not getting my alone time, and sometimes hubby can tell too. Typically, by the end of a summer, or if both he and son are on vacation at the same time, he knows I'll be craving my solitude. It's not that I don't love my family, or want to spend time with them, I just need some space to be me.
And I think that is the absolute crux for me. I set expectations on myself, I bend my own activities around other people, I am flexible and adaptable. And I love being able to be that way, but it is a subtle pressure, a slow wearing down of stone as the water rushes past it. Spending time alone lets me build myself back up, it lets me be the rock that holds my family together, that makes sure all the things get done, when they need to get done.
We are taught to be social creatures, and we are told over and over that people who are loners or who spend time by themselves are damaged or unstable. But there is a very distinct difference between someone who is comfortable with themselves, and comfortable alone, and someone who lacks the social skills to be able to function with other people.
If you find yourself craving solitude, embrace it! Find ways to do things on your own, ways to fill your cup and find that space that you need. Taking care of yourself, in whatever way that manifests, is a very necessary thing, and if you need solitude, ensuring that you have time makes your whole life better.