Solitude has many great uses, especially if you like being alone. It re-energizes. It gives you a break from other people and their rules, expectations, problems, and personalities. It gives you the space to be yourself; when there is no one around, you can stop acting, stop performing, being what you think other people want you to be, or who you want them to think you are. It allows you to spend time with yourself, in your own head, and learn more about who you are. It gives you the comforting, healing presence of peace and quiet.
It gives you your won little bubble, your own, private physical space.
I love being alone, and I think I always have. As much of a romantic as I think I was, reflecting on myself now, I wanted a lover, a partner, to be loved, to share a life and space with someone else for the happiness and bettterment I thought it would bring me, not because I ever preferred companionship to being alone.
I have always wanted to be alone, to be left alone, to have my own place, my own space, where my wants and needs came first, my tastes were the law, and I could eat whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted, every day of the week. Progress for me was never about having a car, or a wife and kids. It was about having my own bubble to burrow in.
So, I understand how violating it must be to have your home broken into or to have to suddenly share it with a relative, or be forced to let out a portion of it to afford to keep the rest of it. Losing your personal space is not only losing your privacy, it’s losing your freedom.
No matter how much I am enjoying my new work schedule (one week off, the next week on for half a day), and the extra solitude it gives me, I have increasingly come to notice an intruder in my home. Not my home, really, but in my head. But, its presence has become so strong, so inescapable, so ever…present, that It has almost become physical. It is almost a thing, sitting in my house, ruining the very appearance of my oasis.
I’m not sure what to call it but I know what I feel. Stress. Worry, Fear. Anxiety.
Maybe I should just call it COVID-19.
The solitude is great. It is. But, the reason for it is gnawing at me, every second. This is not voluntary solitude. It’s forced. It’s mandatory. It’s for my health and the health and lives of others.
I’m not turning away from the world for a few hours. I am hiding from Death.
And, the facts the opinions, the theories, the news, the pandemic updates, the body count, the lies and misinformation, the realities, and the uncertainty have made this the most stressful time I have ever spent with myself. It is not restful. It is not peaceful. Not as restful and peaceful as I would like for it to be.
Because I am trying not to worry about the fate of the world during this pandemic. I am trying to reassure myself that we will find our rhythm again once this has passed – and that it will pass, this year rather than next.
That is the thing about solitude, however, about spending quality alone time in your own head. Eventually, you stop fantasizing, you stop making yourself laugh or hear intruders at your front door, and you are are left with your beliefs, doubts, hopes…and fears.
If, you live alone, they can take up the whole room.