Serenity can be found in various circumstances.
Happiness is within our own grasp. We can control
what most of our choices are. I have heard this
phrase, “We are our own keys to our happiness.”
Of course, unforeseen and horrible catastrophes
occur every day. I am not simplifying this post
to make it fit the word. Solitude could mean the
death of a special someone or something. I would
not wish this on anyone. The choices we can handle
and control are the ones you need to set your goal
or focus on.
What do you really want in life?
How do you want to live it?
Does your plan work for happiness with or without
someone to be a partner with?
What steps will you take to help you find someone
if that is how you want to lead your life?
If you like solitude, what will you do to ensure you
will be able to keep it?
Solitude has been a ‘foreign’ place my entire life.
I was the only girl child with two brothers. I did
not have to ‘share’ many tangible things. The baby
dolls, toys, kitchen sets, bikes, clothing articles
and bedroom were ‘all mine.’
But on many a night, I would lie awake, hearing the
voices of my two brothers talking, whispering in their
conspiratorial ways, without my being included. Then,
hearing sometimes, my father tell them to, “Be quiet!”
With an “or else,” attached. Several times, though, I
would creep into their room to ‘bunk’ with one of my
brothers. This was especially true while a young child,
in elementary school even in middle school, occasionally.
By the time I reached high school, I had developed a
habit of reading myself to sleep. I was beyond the age
where my parents would have read to me, unless it were
a chapter in a book that happened to be of interest to
my Dad. I have recounted my Dad’s love of Sir Arthur
Conan Doyle, while we would drift off to sleep with
murders and mayhem in our dreams.
Solitude was an ‘okay’ place to be. I am a social and
sociable person. I have been in one or two relationships
with quiet men. Ones who thrived on their own space,
art or music, sometimes books or computer work. They
didn’t mind hiking alone, running errands without me
or having their own separate interests. I would feel
left out, if it were many hours on their own, trying
to get myself included into their plans. I am one who
enjoys holding someone’s hand in movies, on walks or
hikes and during daily activities. I don’t even like
to shop that much alone. Strange, since this is one
place I see women, in the grocery stores, malls or
mega box stores, shopping to their heart’s content!
I like men who are ‘deep’ and philosophical, like my
good and long lasting friend, Bill. But I also think that
hanging out with him every weekend is not where I
want to be either. We have our ‘once a month routine,’
which suits me just fine. For quite some time, his
being with Heather was my “safety net” keeping a little
boundary from our getting into a more frequent plan of
action. I am not interested in him in a one on one
relationship. I can honestly say, I don’t want to go
down that path with Bill.
Ours is a partial path in life, at parks, meals out,
seeking necessary or special found items at stores,
and searching book and thrift stores. That is all I am
ever expecting our friendship to include. I am grateful
for Bill, who thinks I am intelligent, sane and fun to
be around. This validation keeps me feeling those three
factors days after our visits together!
I had a roommate from age 18-22 in college, in the busy
summers I worked two years at Cedar Point, where I had 3
I went to a national acting camp, where I had a roommate
from Florida, one from Alaska and one from New York. It was
so interesting to write to them and hear of their lives and
activities after that time spent together.
Finally, I had marriage from ages 22-28 with children,
that kept me company, even while divorced. A break, a leap
of faith, another marriage. Divorced again. Then, for seven
whole years and 9 long summers, I was a single Mom.
I have been, seriously, this is how I call it: ‘on my own’
again for almost 8 years. It is still a ‘new’ feeling to
walk in the door and have no one to recount my day with.
Unless one of my three children, a couple of dear friends
call or a neighbor drops by to talk to me, after I finish
blogging, the library staff are the last ones to wish me,
I am not complaining but I am contemplating, thinking and
reflecting. Am I still happy by myself? Is everything okay
with this solitude?
There are no fights, disagreements or bickering. On the
other hand, there are no calls from the door, “Honey, I’m
home!” or “What’s for dinner?” There isn’t even a paid
companion… oh, a cat or dog, which require pet deposits!
I can eat however I like, presumably, and not get lectured
or asked, “Is this all you planned to eat?” Yes, cereal,
popcorn, soup and other simple foods get digested and I
am still healthy. No doctors have found my diet to be
totally inadequate. I ‘splurge’ and eat out with my
friends or occasional dates. I cook up a big casserole
every Sunday and pack it daily into my lunch box.
I would like to say ‘solitude’ means ‘serenity,’ but I
cannot agree with the equation. I feel like a significant
piece of my life’s puzzle is missing.
My oldest daughter, the one who did not marry last January,
asked me if we could live together. Oh, my darling two
grandsons and she with me. I love them to ‘death’ but I
just saw that being not the perfect fit.
What would the perfect fit ‘look like?’ Who knows!
I am certainly not qualified to be able to recognize him
when I see him! I am not lonely, in any sense of the
A simple call or text to any of my three children or my
daughter-in-law brings dinner invitations and loving arms
wrapped around me tightly. My six little grandchildren
beg me to take them home, when I visit…
I am finally content and happy with not having someone
always with me. It is a constant readjustment, but it
is where I need to be right now.
Oh, one more song, that I think could have be in the post
about overcoming life’s challenges. An advantage to being
‘alone’ is, I can really sing this one out loud:
“Brave,” by Sara Bareilles. It is not written for the
animated cartoon movie (2012) of the same name, it came
out the following year, 2013. Here are some of my favorite
“….Everybody’s been there,
Everybody’s been stared down by the enemy.
Fallen for the fear,
And done some disappearing.
Bow down to the mighty,
Don’t run, just stop holding your thoughts.”
“Say what you wanna say,
And let the words fall out.
Honestly, I wanna see you be brave…
Maybe there’s a way out of the cage where you live
Maybe one of these days you can let the light in…”
“Show me how big your brave is!”
This is another song, my grandkids ‘belt out’ to the
Or. you can go the opposite direction and be pensive and
contemplative in your quiet solitude. As I sometimes do,
(I put on my old Simon and Garfunkel 45 record) and listen
to, “The Sound of Silence.” Did you know that the lyrics
were started after John F. Kennedy was assassinated in
November, 1963? Paul Simon completed them and the song came
out in February, 1964. Another fifty years ago anniversary!
Here is the opening passage that gives me chills:
“Hello darkness, my old friend.
I’ve come to talk with you again.
Because a vision softly creeping
Left its seeds while I was sleeping
And the vision that was planted in my brain
Within the sound of silence.”
Later, when the passage speaks of ten thousand
people… doesn’t this song make you feel the
pain of JFK’s death?
“And in the naked light I saw
Ten thousand people, maybe more
People talking without speaking
People hearing without listening
People writing songs that voices never share
And no one dared disturb the sound of silence…”