This past weekend I spent the majority of the time by myself. I wasn’t lonely. In fact, I reveled in the solitude. There is something regenerative in spending time with just self. When I do, I am constantly reminded that no matter what happens in the world around me, I will be OK. I know this because the only person that I HAVE to be with, ever, is someone who I like and respect.
Solitude isn’t for everyone. I have many people in my life that would be depressed or stir crazy if forced to be alone for a weekend. I don’t pretend that I am superior to these people. Just different. For me, being able to be alone with myself is a sign that I am doing alright in the areas of self-esteem and integrity, but for someone more social, the world may be their mirror. To each their own.
Loving solitude has caused me to contemplate some complex questions about myself lately. Can someone who enjoys alone time as much as I do really be successful living a life of relationships – Marriage? Children?
The “outside” answer to that question varies depending upon the lives of the people I query. It seems most people fall squarely into the camp of their own choices. People who are married with children give me a spiel about how I would be missing out on a form of loving that no one should live without. But I occasionally find a parent or divorcee who will venture into the discussion of the sacrifice of their personal contentment. It seems rare to find someone who has balanced their need for solitude with marriage and family.
My “inside” answer seems to lean towards the take it or leave it/grey area. I have enjoyed being in relationships in the past, so I know I could probably do marriage. I have enjoyed being a caregiver/nurturer of children on many levels, so I know I could do parenthood. But it seems that both choices would preclude a weekend like the one I just spent, one where I was perfectly content and happy with myself. Is that something I am willing to give up? Is there someone out there that wants the same thing? Is it possible to have all of it, the marriage, children, and the solitude?
I also wonder…Is the me that I like so much when I am all alone, a lazy version of me? Is it someone who won’t necessarily grow because I’m not challenging myself? I have felt at times that I am a nicer, more giving, and a happier person (outwardly) when I am in a good relationship. My family would definitely agree. Is my alone time a “selfish” act that keeps me from being my best self?
Complex questions for which I don’t have any answers. Maybe I need to take the next weekend alone to think about it some more. Or, maybe I should go on a date with someone who likes their alone time just as much as I do to see if we can find a balance that makes us both better. I think I’ll just sit back, decide not to decide and see what happens.