Meaning of solitude

Have you ever assessed what you get true happiness from? Is it from being in a circle where everyone loves you or from being completely alone?

So alone that you know the rhythm of your breath, the echoing melody of your footsteps on a quiet street, you have an acquaintanceship with your own looming shadow…

I’m talking about being alone in a very positive way here, as opposed to sitting alone on the couch of an empty apartment on Christmas eve and crying to the sexiness of Michael Buble’s carols.

Being alone. By yourself. Without anyone. In a true moment of solitude. It’s challenging, yes. Especially these days. You can’t get your own physical space on a train in Sydney, for crying out loud, getting that in life is rather ambitious.

So what do you do when this isn’t available? You start seeing the word a-l-o-n-e as a spiteful, heartbreaking and depressing word. Instead of it being ‘by myself’, it becomes ‘lonely’. It becomes a negative term that basically wants to commit suicide and die a pitiful death. I mean, look at Eric Carmen, he wrote a record-breaking song about the freaking word and fuelled everyone’s mind with ‘all by myself’ being a bad thing!

Why? Why can’t being in your own space, finding your own aura and coming to terms with it just be defined as happily-alone?

Without the intention of patronising anyone readying this, 32 of my best friends/acquaintances have gotten engaged in the past 12 months (and yes, I counted).

Thirty-Two.

These are people my age: 23.

Twenty-Three.

Are these engagements purely out of panic of being without a plus one for life? Or are they out of the equation of serious, passionate, mind-boggling and earth-shattering love? I’m scared for those that belong to the former.

Wouldn’t loneliness be better than being stuck in something where you’re suffocated? Wouldn’t you rather be alone than be sharing the bed with someone who is intermediary towards every move, decision and choice of yours?

Don’t get me wrong here, though. Bless you if you’re not in a relationship or courtship where you don’t feel any of the above.

Being with someone gets you closer to them but also might simultaneously take you further away from who you are as YOU! What if you don’t know who are as an individual… what’s the point of being with someone as a false version of you? You’re probably a moulded version of how they’d like you to be in their head.

I’m going to quote from a book I’m currently reading, ‘Essays in Love’ (which is brilliant by the way!). Author Alain de Botton writes, “The problem with needing others to legitimate our existence is that we are very much at their mercy to have a correct identity ascribed to us”.

The idea of someone ‘completing’ you is infamously trademarked for the final climax scene of a soppy romcom. Reel life has sensationalised the quote and real life wants to squeeze the truth from it. What was missing, to begin with, that needs to be completed is what I haven’t figured out just yet.

If what someone sees in you, defines you, then were you characterless prior to finding your one? If they find your jokes funny, you’re funny for them. If they find your post-dinner flossing hygienic, you’re a sparkling clean person for them. They are smitten by traits of yours that mean nothing to you, or add zilch to the relationship, but mean the world to them.

If loneliness has a frightening effect on you, then perhaps you’re doing it wrong. Perhaps you’re not using it as a tool to find what you are as a ‘one’ before attaching yourself to a ‘plus one’. Perhaps you’re just scared of solitude overwhelming you and freeing you beyond measure. That’s for you to ponder on.

As for me, I just ordered lunch for one in my outdoor office in Ubud overlooking a patch of turquoise blue swimming pool strategically located in front of a patchy rice paddy field. The rain is bantering against the chlorine-rich water and the smell of wet soil is enveloping me in its arms. Mmmm!

Excuse me now while I enjoy my Tempeh stir-fry with a fresh young coconut, all by myself!

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