Category Archives: Sara Bareilles

Solitude

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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

unique roommates.

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,

“Good night!”

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

term either.

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

lyrics:

“….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.”

(Chorus)

“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

skies!

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

still remains,

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…”