Saturday, March 7, 2009

Solitude Lost?

Loneliness is the poverty of self; solitude is the richness of self.
May Sarton

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.

15 comments:

  1. This spoke to me a little too loudly. Great stuff. Good luck with your new job and I think once you're on the other side of the door, you'll do just fine. Enjoy it. Embrace it. All you'll miss are your jammies.

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  2. I am jealous of your solitude and quiet. I could see myself enjoying it like you do. Good luck with you new adventure. I am sure you will do great.

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  3. I am fortunate in that when I am at work I love my job, but I could leave it in a heartbeat for more solitude, reading and writing time, and decadent omelets eaten leisurely.

    I'm probably not helping. sorry.

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  4. Muu-ah-ah-ah, now you will know the dark realm I enter into every day.

    Actually, I wouldn't wish that on anybody, let alone my dear friends, so I am just hoping you find some things about your new job that you like and that will sustain you for as long as you have to be there. And if not, there's always the classifieds.

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  5. Great post and blog! Where can we find what books you've written? It's a beautiful blog.

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  6. I know the feeling. I am going through exactly the same thing. I love being alone, and am not sure I want to have to deal with people again...but finances rule...

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  7. Think of all the fodder you'll have for your writing! Seriously that's the best thing about working, other than the paycheck.

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  8. There is nothing wrong with hermits!

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  9. I love a little solitude myself girl. I stay really busy with my business's and when I get done talking with (and sucking up to, ugh) people all day.........I'm spent and don't even want to answer the phone.......sometimes, I don't :)
    Hey, they'll call back you know? Or not...Whatever, lol

    Steady On
    Reggie Girl

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  10. Magnolia Cafe? Are you in St. F? (I'm in Red Stick.) :)

    Like your blog. As for the job hunt, I feel for you. I've done every job on the planet around raising kidlets (had 3 in 36 months and a traveling husband). Good part time gigs can be found in substitute teaching, catering, house cleaning and private investigation. Email for more ideas. :)

    More on the books, please. I'm revising my women's fiction ms as we "speak."

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  11. Me again. Doh...read your profile and see you're in Austin, so howdy, neighbor.

    I've added you to my Rockin' Blogs list.

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  12. I adore family and friends, but quiet time at home is luxury!

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  13. SMB- Oh, you remind me I have to figure out something to wear. Thanks for the encouragement.

    Smiles- I hope you do get a chance soon to enjoy the solitude. Thanks for your good wishes.

    PHST-I so hope I love my job!

    Liar - oh, no, not the classified again. Ok,I'll try to like it.

    Cathy - Thank you. www.austinwritergrrls.com for Grrl Talk. Cup of Comfort for Loved Ones with Alzheimer's has one of my essays--sold everywhere. My novel is in my drawer with 52 rejections on top of it.

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  14. Mary - yes those finances. Don't you hate that? Thanks for joining. I'm enjoying your blogs.

    Busy Traveler - yes, I'll bring a secret notebook to record characters.

    Debbie - I'm so glad there are other hermits!

    Midlife - I agree they'll call back - if it is important enough.

    Angie - would you believe they have all the substitute teacher they need right now? The times. Enjoying your blog and thanks for adding mine.

    The Things We Carry - I love this book by Tim O'Brien, which attracted me to your site. Like minds.

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