Last month, the husband announced that he had work travel planned this month. He’d be gone for a little over three weeks to India. Fun. For him, I mean.
I was fairly okay with this plan. I didn’t wonder – Oh, what am I going to do, all by myself, for such a long period? I knew that I wouldn’t really have a problem filling my days, and happily so too. It has been that way for me all the while. I greatly enjoy solitude, as I have come to understand about myself over the last twenty-something days.
But it has been a revelation, even to me, as to how much I enjoy time spent by myself.
A dear friend asked me, frankly curious – What do you do all the time? Or something along those lines. I had a tough time coming up with a good answer, so I gave a vague response. Ahh, you know… I read. I cook. I am cooking daily, you know? Then I just chill, haha. You know? Attempting to give the guilty smile/conspiratory look.
Well, I don’t think of myself as an introvert, but these days I guard my alone time fiercely. I pull it close to myself like a warm woolen shawl.
I remember a conversation with a friend about loneliness. People tend to think that alone = lonely. Of course, I disagree. I don’t deny the value of social connections and interactions. But really, it is important to know how to stay/be on your own, and remain joyful and fulfilled. I think the ultimate truth that most of us regularly push to the dark recesses of our mind is that alone-ness is a reality. Sometimes, we end up living many years of our life without any friends/family/children around. Sometimes, it becomes the story of our entire life. Everyone dies alone. Sometimes, death comes in a flash, and we face it solo without the comforting company of a loved one or a friendly face.
Surrounding oneself with people, things, projects, etc. feels very safe and comforting. It feels like a buffer against the sentence of loneliness. Oh, I have my children around, my spouse is here, I will always have my pet with me.
Of course, none of this is true. And I think each one of us knows it.
The lovely skill lies in living a joyful and splendorous life while remaining fully aware of this reality.