Loneliness is the poverty of self; solitude is the richness of self.
Sometimes I take a different route just to see where it leads. Sometimes I question my thinking when I make these decisions, because it might have been easier to look at a map. Or a guidebook. Sometimes those resources aren’t at my fingertips, or I have no patience to find them, and my curiosity gets the best of me. Besides, what's the worst that can happen? I’m growing more and more curious regarding this employment venture that begins next week. How will it change my life? What might I truly enjoy about it as well as what will I miss most about my old life?
There is some apprehension--that questioning. At times the old, familiar road overwhelms the possibility for the new. For I’m already thinking my solitude will suffer the most. I get along quite nicely with myself. And it took quite an evolution to get to that point.
Yesterday, I took myself out to breakfast at the Magnolia Café and ordered their most decadent omelet – The Magnolia: two eggs, black olives, avocado, and tomatoes with a lemon crème sauce. I sat in the booth and free wrote in my journal, remembering the days I brought my young sons to the restaurant. They filled up on pancakes or French toast and then we’d head out to find a new swimming hole or park or visit a museum or theater production.
With kids in the house, I forgot what solitude might entail. What it might be like to go to the bathroom alone, read a book in longer stints than three paragraphs, or write more than five words before someone or something needed my attention. The silence of the house overwhelmed me when my youngest child went off to school, but I’ve adapted quite well to being alone all day.
I don't notice the quiet.
My writing and editing, my reading, my denial of housework, and my puttering around at my own pace has offered an opportunity I rarely squander. I’m not sure how I’ll do being with people all day long, pursuing someone else's agenda.
A few months ago, I told my oldest son about a fun party invitation we had received, but that I didn’t want to attend.
“Why wouldn’t you want to go?” he asked.
“Well, you have to talk to people and have fun and stuff.”
He shook his head at me. “If it weren’t for Dad, you’d be a hermit.”
I had to think about that. Quite unlike the young woman who craved companionship and conversation in college. Or the woman who stood before a classroom or in a boardroom addressing business issues to a well-attended table. Or the new stay-at-home mom who stood in the driveway and asked every woman walking by with a stroller if she wanted to be her friend.
I sincerely appreciate my friends and sometimes have to remind myself not to take them for granted. To come out of hiding and BE a friend. I’m thankful for the friends who remind me to do that.
But I’m so good at listening for the door to close behind my family heading out to begin their days, and then taking a breath. For now I can attend to me before I take on anything else. Yes, it should be most interesting to discover what will happen when the door closes with me on the other side.