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Archive for January, 2013

On Solitude

It’s late at night.  Stars shine clear and bright in the cold winter sky, but it’s warm and cozy here inside.  Fresh from a relaxing bubble bath, wrapped in my husband’s old plaid robe, with a glass of wine sitting on the floor next to me, a small white dog on the other side of me, I watch the lights on the Christmas tree one last time for the season.  Tomorrow, I will take the tree down but for tonight I will admire the small stars of white light as they gleam against the green of the fir-tree.  Tonight is one of those rare occasions when I am alone, and don’t have work that I should be doing.  It’s my youngest’s night with his dad.  My husband is at a management conference.  And while I miss them, I am, surprisingly, content with my solitude.

There was a time when I dreaded being alone.  Being alone meant being lonely.  It often meant that my children were gone, my youngest visiting his father in another state, my oldest off creating a life of his own. Being alone meant being left behind.  It meant no longer being needed.  As life has changed, and I have grown, I have come to appreciate the peacefulness that solitude can bring.

There are many different kinds of solitude.  There is the solitude of a forest, where you are a small part of a vast empire of trees.  There is the solitude of a windswept beach, where you can feel the might of the ocean at your feet.  There is the silence and solitude of a library, where even though you may be surrounded by others, you are still alone with the words on the page in front of you.  Each has a different feel, each fills your heart in a different way.  Sometimes solitude can fill your heart with sadness, and sometimes solitude can fill your heart with peace.

We all need times of solitude in our lives, if even for just an hour or two.  Shut off the phone, turn off the TV.  Shut out the noise of the outside world, and you can discover amazing things.  Solitude can help you de-stress, it can help you see things in your world in a different light.  In the quiet of solitude, you can let your dreams unfold in your imagination, taking you wherever you desire to go.  You have no one you need to satisfy, no others needs you have to consider.  In solitude, it is just you.  For me, solitude is necessary for me to create.  My best writing comes when I am alone, when I don’t feel the pull of responsibility to others.  For a young mother, the solitude of a warm bath, with no one knocking on the door, no cries from the other room, may be enough to restore her tired spirit so that she can nurture those around her.  For the hard-working business man, the quiet of a tree stand may be enough solitude to quiet a racing mind enough to let new ideas and solutions emerge.

I have come to learn that solitude is not loneliness, loneliness is different all together.  You can be lonely in the middle of a crowded room, but solitude can’t exist there.  There is the old cliché “take time to smell the roses”.  I say – take time to appreciate the solitude, and discover what you find there.  I miss my guys when they are not here, but I am not lonely.  I will be so very glad to see them tomorrow when they are home, but for now…I am content with my solitude.

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