16 July 2008

Sweet Solitude

I have always loved to be around people, and thrive on the conversation and laughter in a moderate sized group. I also like people one on one. This is one way that I know that I am maladjusted in Texas is that I tend to be a bit withdrawn.
As a preteen, I lived alone with a single mother who worked all day and went out all night so I spent most of the time for those couple of years by myself. This was especially difficult in the summer when I didn't have at least school to break up the monotony of my days. I was stuck inside and not allowed to go out of the house. I think I got a little glimpse of what it must be like to be in solitary confinement during that time. I wasn't allowed outside, at all. I didn't have any friends. Life was pretty miserable. I think it is why I gravitate to people and relationships - I have almost a fear of being alone.
I just watched "Into the Wild" about a guy who leaves civilization and goes and lives in the Alaskan wild country completely alone. He talks to an apple, and screams his brains out and does a lot of things we might consider eccentric, but he seems pretty content with his life. It just amazed me that someone would have the courage to go off alone into this vast expanse with not another living soul. I noticed that all his relationships (shown in flashbacks) were a mess, and full of obligation, expectation. Some days I feel like I will drown for the heaviness of the expectations that others have of me, and I can't even imagine what it would be like to be free from all of that. But it would also mean being free from their love, companionship, and all the beauty they bring to my life. Most of the time, I would think this is too high a price to pay. One of the quotes he wrote in a book toward the end of the movie was "Happiness only real when shared." This helped me a lot as I sat pining for the freedom and simplicity of his solitude, to realize that the things you go through in life are rather hollow unless you have someone to share them with.
One thing I could totally relate to was the writing. I know that if I had time alone I would write and write and write. It is how this great story was recalled later, through the words of the one who had experienced it. But I also wondered if some would consider him mentally ill, unable to make sound decisions for himself. I wondered how much we have lost or kept others from in this incessant desire in our culture to put labels on, medicate and hold back anyone wanting to do anything unorthodox like taking off into the wilderness alone.
For the first time ever, this year on my birthday I told Travis I wanted a weekend alone for my birthday. That was in February - and of course we haven't had the financial ability to do that. I just want some quiet, a reprieve from the expectations, the noise, the constant asking of questions, the never ending cycle of housework, bill paying and errands. It gave me a thrill to even be able to say that I wanted to be alone - and deep inside it terrifies me. Not necessarily because I'm afraid someone will figure out that I'm all alone and hurt me, but because I fear I will not enjoy my own company.
I am still going to pursue that sweet solitude the first chance I get.


  1. I've spent so much time alone these last few years, I've found ways to entertain myself. It was hard at first, but you get used to it. Alone is very quiet...now I've learned to like the quiet.

  2. hey julie,
    after our son was dx'ed with his special needs and the demands and obligations came crashing into my life, i went off for a weekend by myself. i stayed in a lovely b&b. i did meet with a girlfriend for dinner, but otherwise i had my bible, journal, other books. i took a long leisurely bath and slept like a baby. it was my sanity break and now years later i take one every once in awhile. i'm an introvert, so it might be a bit easier for me, but i found i was a better wife, mother, friend, daughter becuz of my time alone.

    so when finances allow---GO FOR IT! its so worth it.

    gail in idaho

  3. We are very different in the area. I mean you are a people person and I really don't like people.
    I mean people in general, I'm not outgoing, I don't talk to strangers unless I have a reason to.
    Of course there are people I like :)

    I don't like crowds, it makes me cranky.

    I like small gatherings or one on one conversation the best.

    I don't need solitude, well once in awhile for an hour would be good.

  4. I think I am better in a small group or one on one. Like I way prefer midweek church to Sunday where I often feel overwhelmed and end up talking to no one.
    I like solitude too, not for long periods, but to recharge in between things.

  5. I applaud how you are able to articulate and express yourself in your writings. If you ever do get that weekend alone, I imagine you could churn out soul wrenching pages of thoughts.

    Wonder if we moms will long for obligations when our young'uns are off and running with their adult lives?

  6. I go away for one weekend every year. It is financed from my allowance, but The Engineer is very understanding and makes it work with The Munchkins. Sometimes my weekend is profound and sometimes its simply marked by getting some much needed rest. Either way, once I'm there, I realize how busy and distracted I've been from the beauty and simplicity of life. I cant always live that way, but it's VERY GOOD AND NECESSARY to be reminded of it.

    Let us know when YOUR weekend comes.

  7. Wow. I've gotten really behind on my reading, but I hope, when you get to come my way, (hopefully in the not too distant future) maybe it can serve as some good alone time while you drive, as you've mentioned. I'll try not to take up too much of your "me" time, when you get here, and I'll keep it peaceful and relaxing!


Awaiting your words......
♥ Juls ♥