Solitude

It wasn’t until recently that I discovered how much I enjoy solitude.

What a stark contrast to the time when I was a child and into most of my adult life, when I still felt that I could not be alone. It was an old habit to feel like I needed company. The belief that I could not be alone sat there, in the body, untested and unchallenged.

Now when I am alone, I enjoy being alone. I daily interact with a few good friends, colleagues, and many students, but I recharge and come alive when all is quiet around me. I relax. I do not feel lonely or lacking. I can create, be aware, feel, perceive – in solitude I can listen to life uninterrupted.

Sometimes the past is sticky and people become entangled in odd ways – even when they are ready to part ways. Such entanglements are much like illness, which sits in the body and must run its course.

One could say that illness is bad, sad, or painful. But if it is there – even after everything has been tried to heal it, then it is there. It is part of life. Another lens to see through or past.

Lingering relationships are not unlike an unavoidable illness, and it is easy to view these ties as irritants. But whatever cannot be controlled must be lived through. Even though I feel ready to be free of such relationships, a couple remain tethered. So, they must run their course and must be embraced.

I used to think that it was important for me to be understood. Today I learned that I no longer care about that. If someone caused me pain, it turned out not to matter to me if they get it. It is liberating to not want or wait for sincere apologies or accountability.

Why do some people irritate us? Hurt us? Hate us? Blame us? Why do we do the same? I challenge myself to see if I hold grudges. I challenge my beliefs about old ways of relating to people. I’ve found that there is no hatred or bitterness in me anymore. The fact that I choose to not spend time or exchange pleasantries with certain people is not a sign of hatred or bitterness – just a wish to be free of whatever wants to see me as someone other than I am. Such interactions feel needlessly draining.

When we have a talent, it is not always necessary for us to use it. When there are certain people near us, it is not always necessary to let them in.

It may seem cold and heartless – even strange – to cut off certain people. Isn’t all relationship welcome? Of course not. We are not all here to get along – at least, not in the way we imagine getting along. While neediness and insecurity persists, it is impossible to be oneself in the company of certain people. And, it is impossible for me to artificially stroke someone’s need for validation, which is a bottomless sinkhole.

I won’t sacrifice whatever time I have left here to false idols. I realized that I no longer care if I am liked because I know who I am. Perhaps that just comes with age. My understanding about friendship and family is evolving beyond the usual definitions that involve us getting something. I see relationships as being about giving without sacrificing who we are, which is not possible with all or most people at this time.

I feel an unwavering resolve to allow others to live their life as they must. People come here to do very specific things, but they get caught up in experiences and stay past their time in relationships that ended long ago. Then, it takes a lot of force to push them out of complacency and onto their rightful track. They see it as cruelty, but it is a gift that makes it easier for them to move on. If they cannot bring themselves to move forward, then what is left to do but to give them a strong push.

If you are in a dead-end relationship, consider how much of yourself you can pull back. Find out if solitude frightens you. If it does, that is a sign that you are clinging to the world for something that you don’t believe you already have.

Meanwhile, be mindful of your responsibilities. Most tend to feel that they owe people much less than they really do – especially at the end of a relationship.

My children come before everything else. They are the priority because I accepted that responsibility. If you have children, then your divorce is not a complete and final separation until your children have fully grown. You are tied to the situation, until it has run its course. So, buckle in and own as much of what is yours as possible.

I do not know whether I will be alive in a decade or what I will be doing. It surprises me that I do not dwell on it. So much change occurs in my life constantly as I follow Life’s lead. I’ve surrendered my life. This surrender has only made it more clear that I have outgrown most things I thought I needed or wanted. It is OK – whatever comes, I will see it through. Either in solitude or among good friends who can be themselves and allow me to be myself. Often, the price of company, companionship, and so-called love is too steep, as it masks the need to hide or to escape the moment that was meant for us alone.

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