Thursday, March 18, 2010

Creativity Experiment, Day 2: A Reflection

Today's Tarot card is The Hermit. You can click over to Mind on Fire to see John picking the card of the day, and for an explanation of just what we're doing this week as part of his experiment in creativity.

This is my day's contribution to the experiment:

What’s so wrong with being alone?

I enjoyed being alone when I was a child. Was it a function of having been an only child? I don’t know.

Sometimes, with half the neighborhood kids playing on my front lawn, I would sneak off inside for the solitude of my room and a book.

No reflection on the kids I knew (or, maybe it is), I really preferred being alone. I spent a lot of time plotting and planning how I could manage to live my adult life without having anyone else around. Ever.

Some people thought I was a strange child. Maybe I was.

Then I became the adult I’d wondered about when I was growing up.

I still preferred being alone.

But, I found, it is a lot more difficult to be alone when you’re an adult. You’ve got to earn a living. You’re expected to have “relationships” (yes, the quotation marks indicate that I still find that concept rather fraught at times), intimate and otherwise.

Additionally, if you’re alone too much others start to be, well, suspicious.

How many people comment about the serial killer next door, “He was always so quiet. Kept himself to himself.”

I did grow to enjoy the company of others. I spent less and less time alone, and mostly didn’t regret it. There was school and work and nights out with friends. But there were still those times when I Just. Needed. To. Be. Alone.

When my mother’s health began to decline and I had to take care of her, there was no such thing as being alone anymore. Going to the mailbox or walking out to the laundry room for five minutes was as close as I got to solitude.

That went on for close to five years.

And then Mom was gone, first into care and then into wherever we go when this life is over.

I discovered that I had forgotten how to be alone.

For awhile, I spent most of my time trying to be with others. With friends. Knitting at the local shop. If nothing else, sitting in a restaurant, writing or reading a book. Just so there were other people around.

Slowly, I’m learning how to be alone again, rediscovering the joys of quiet. Solitude. Time to just sit and think.

To just be.

I still greatly enjoy time with my friends. But, on the other hand, what’s so wrong with being alone?


McMGrad89 said...

As a kid my mom said I had itchy feet. I used to laugh at that. I had to always be going and doing and being around people. I don't really have much use for alone time. Even when I am home alone and I am reaching out to others via the internet or phone. I don't ever see that changing. Hope it never does.

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