Saturday, February 23, 2013
Alone. Strictly defined as "having no one else present." If you search for synonyms for alone, you find sole, solitary, and single. You also find lonely and lonesome. Why must alone so often have a negative connotation? Alone in the world. Alone on New Year's Eve with no one to kiss. What about those who choose to be alone? Those who relish the quiet, the contemplation, the ability to be who you are instead of who others want or need you to be?
I am an only child. Only, as in single, solitary. See: alone. This was never a problem for me, rarely a reason to feel lacking. I had parents, friends, parents' friends, my mother's large family, and books. Lots of books. I still have all those things. I also now have a family of my own--a husband and two children, all of whom love me for who I am but who necessarily view me as an extension of themselves. We are relatives; our very existence is relative to one another. Now, more than ever, alone is a positive state for me.
I have always been a social person--unwilling to go to bed lest I miss something, the last to leave the party, always up for a drink, a conversation, or a good time. But even during my peak years of college friends and parties, some of my favorite memories are of the time I spent quietly reading the school newspaper alone over lunch or in a sunny spot on the quad. Until fairly recently, I never gave much thought to being alone because it was something that was neither foisted upon me unwillingly nor something I felt was missing.
Since becoming a parent, I crave alone time because it is a scarce commodity. At first it was simple: I just wanted to use the toilet or shower alone, without interruption. Now that my kids are older and such interruptions are thankfully much less frequent, I still look forward to being alone. To having no one else present. It is not lonely, but it is solitary. Alone is now a desired state of being. It is a time when I can have a complete thought, finish a task uninterrupted, and pursue my own interests. Alone is when I can be most me, when I can initiate and create instead of react and respond. Alone is a reason to celebrate.
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