Friday, April 1, 2011

Thoughts on Solitude

Solitude – noun - the state of being or living alone; seclusion: to enjoy one's solitude.

Alone. Can one really enjoy being alone?

I believe the more apropos question is: does one really want to be alone? I have to think on this a bit. If you had asked me 10, 5, 2 or even 1 year ago I would have replied with an emphatic “NO!” The older I get though, the more I realize that being alone really isn’t so bad; it does have certain advantages, as well as disadvantages. At a minimum, it’s at least more tolerable now than it was 10 years ago.

Anne Boleyn’s husband chopped her head off when she couldn’t produce an heir to the thrown and in response her daughter, Elizabeth I, vowed never to marry a man but instead wedded herself to a country. In this day and age, such action would seem extreme but the sentiment is certainly attractive. Although I have no desire to marry a municipality, I see value in staying true to one’s own values and not putting yourself in a situation where you may potentially have to compromise those values to accommodate a partner.

It seems that almost everywhere I look these days people are in unhappy or unsatisfying relationships that came about out of initial lust for their partner that slowly died off over time, or were simply out of habit or sense of duty. They got married because they felt it was the right thing to do, or it was expected of them. Reflecting on my own relationship history, I can easily see those times where I could have fallen into that same hole of acquiescence with society’s view of how I should be living my life. However, never having been one to fully conform to the system, I find myself now – at age 40 – single and alone.

And for the most part I don’t mind. I don’t have to answer to anyone but myself. I can go where I want, with whom I want and not have to check in with someone else before, during and after doing so.

That being said, I freely admit there are times like today – a cold, windy rainy day – where I would like nothing but to play hooky from work and snuggle under a down comforter with my beloved, keeping each other warm.

As I sit here alone, pondering my past, present and future as a singleton, I find that I am neither sad nor happy about this state of mine. This leads me to believe that acceptance of solitude is not yet forthcoming, and perhaps there is still a little glimmer of hope.