The Rich Vegetarian

An Examined Life

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Tag: solitude (page 1 of 4)

Home Alone

I always thought that to be home meant to be alone. For, when you are truly home, you are utterly by yourself. No friend or lover, parent or a child, soulmate, pet, not even God… well, at least how we like to define God. No, S/H/e/It isn’t there either.

To be home means to be entirely and utterly by oneself.

I, for one, never had an issue with that.

Even as a child, I liked spending the long hours by myself. Books were the next best option. My sister and my mother were great companions too. Perhaps because they liked their space and quiet as well. So there we were, left to our individual wiles and devices (not the electronic type), utterly happy (or not), pottering around in our own little worlds.

There have been quiet evenings when I have wondered if company would be the antidote to that dull, brooding feeling. But no, not really, I don’t think so. I am not sure if that gnawing restlessness would have been fixed by people and conversation. Yes, there have been times when I have desired for people and conversation, deep and light. I have wanted for bright, warm lights, good home-cooked food, a warm corner to curl in, a cozy ride home with P.

But most evenings, home is alone and alone is home, and it feels perfect and abundant.

Freedom/Isolation

A balloon flies free, untethered by a strong hand,
It isn’t too different for a mind that likes solitude
The days are long, the moments flow along nicely

It is quiet and spacey

No voice beckons, no company calls.

It feels nice, then quiet, then too silent,

and I often think: when does the notion of freedom bleed into isolation?
When does the feeling of warm comfort become a strain?

The quiet space starts collapsing within,
Then the only sound is the silent one, that feels loud and blaring and deafening.

I wonder: what about the future? Will it be quiet too?

Is this my personality, a bad mood, a time-of-the-month? A hormonal shift, a moon cycle play?

And then it begins again, another day, another evening by the window, wandering in half-thought, half-soliloquy, full-___.

Retreat

Periodically, I get the urge to retreat.

I lose all inclination to talk to people and/or meet with them. Browsing Facebook or Twitter or Instagram has no charm. I feel like I want to stay indoors by myself (or with my husband who enjoys solitude as much as, if not more than, I do) puttering around the house. Or perhaps go out for a walk or hike, maybe a swim.

There is a strong urge to disengage from everything. I don’t want to read about politics or institutional racism or climate change or economic inequality or mistreatment of women or lack of sanitation, or whatever. I also am not interested in reading about Apple’s latest release or the cool styles on High Heel Confidential, or Heidi’s beautiful recipes on 101 Cookbooks.

I simply want to vegetate. Or ruminate. Or hibernate.

Of course, this stream of thought is immediately followed by another, filled with guilt and self-recrimination.

Aren’t you privileged? You can actually afford to disengage. You have nothing at stake. Not your health or employment or marriage or life. You have nothing to lose by detaching yourself from the everyday occurrences and goings-on of others. Aren’t you selfish? Instead of reaching out to people who are in need of help and support, you prefer to hunker down, like you are a self-styled hermit or a recluse.

You are neither.

You are a pampered, self-absorbed woman who has never wanted for a thing all her life. Most things came easy to you. You like to believe that you are a minimalist but that’s a relative perspective. You have everything you want, so you can actually afford to consider yourself a minimalist. You see yourself as a minimalist only because you look around and see how people spend money, acquire things, move into large homes, buy big cars. None of that is related to you, really.

Okay. But none of this, in any way, diminishes my strong desire to retreat inward, literally and metaphorically.

I used to consider myself a regular extrovert but now it seems like that was a thin veneer that shed itself as I ventured into my mid-late thirties.

So, all of this – acknowledging my need for quiet, space, solitude – is new to me.

But I am gulping it down like a much-needed glass of water. So perhaps, all of this is timely and essential.