Thursday, February 06, 2014

happy solitude.......

I went to the cinema by myself last night. I’ll just give you a second to pick yourself up off the floor. 

The truth is I’m a solitary person. Some might even say a loner, and while I’m not adverse to the term it doesn’t quite explain my desire to be alone. You see, it’s not that I don’t like people, in fact quite the opposite. I’m intrigued and fascinated by people. All different people. What they say and do and how they navigate their lives. I just don’t need to be at the centre of a bunch of such people to possess this fascination. Instead, I prefer to watch them from afar. Sometimes I sneak closer, like a photographer in the Kenyan plains, stalking a Lion to capture that perfect shot. Just close enough to get the shot, but not too close to get eaten alive. Too graphic?

I’m not alone in my love of solitude. Thoreau said that there was no companion as companionable as solitude. And Einstein was of the thinking that solitude gives you time to wonder and search for truth. I agree with both of them. 

But solitude seems to have taken on a negative connotation. Just like the word loner - which has a tendency to be used as an insult - the idea that anyone would want to be alone is perplexing. The supposition being that life is best lived surrounded by people, never with an opportunity to think in a quite space, to ponder, to digest, to dream and to escape - alone.

Even the idea of doing something as innocuous as going to see a film by yourself often brings startled looks to the faces of those it’s suggested to. As if the thought of being alone injures their soft bellies. Imagine suggesting that they travel alone? I’m too concerned for their mental health to even suggest such a thing. 

There is something to be said for solitude. Not just the act itself, but having the courage to embrace it, to use it, to appreciate it with all it’s nuances. 

Long live the loner in us all. And especially in me. 

kb xx