Solitude is the state or situation of being alone, according to dictionary.com.
To me, experiencing solitude is more than not having company or being alone. I like to turn off the notifications on my phone and put it away (except to take pictures like the ones seen throughout this post lol). I like to hear the music of nature or my surroundings instead of some catchy tunes in my headphones.
I also like to hear my own thoughts and pay attention to what is going on in my body and spirit as well. Or sometimes, I look outward and use some of my senses to be grounded when too much is going on in my head. For example, my sense of seeing allowed me to observe the beauty in the pattern of this tree bark and imagine how it is when rain flows over it.
Constantly being around others, notifications, scrolling online, music, podcast, etc. can distract us from this self-awareness. Other than being out in nature, I have solitude through taking a walk, journaling, exercising, soaking my feet, washing my hair, a nice long hot bath with candles, party of one at a restaurant, a picnic, and the like. At some point soon hopefully, I’m having a staycation at an Airbnb somewhere because I live with other folks and geesh! I hope that says enough.
Now, I can imagine that someone is reading this thinking “hmmmmm, this sounds like what lonely people do…” or “I can’t have solitude because my family and friends need me!” or “Ain’t nobody got time for that!”. I am here to tell you:
- Let’s not confuse being alone with being lonely. Someone can be in a room with hundreds of people, have lots of friends and family, and still feel lonely (we can address that on a different day).
- Your family and friends can miss you sometimes. I am not saying neglect them just not to neglect yourself either. Know your limits and when to designate others to do the things you need a break from (Sis, your husband can watch them kids too!).
- MAKE TIME! Just like you plug it into your schedule to work, exercise, grocery shop, get your hair done, etc. , plug in your me time too! That is not selfish at all.
Unfortunately, solitude can have a negative connotation. For starters, I am not telling you to put yourself in solitary confinement nor take an indefinite hiatus from people nor be an hermit. Yes, it is harmful to never be around others and can drive people insane. I believe we are communal creatures. However, sometimes you can take time out to be with yourself. For us believers, we know Jesus did sometimes, like when He stepped away to pray in Mark 1:35.
It’s okay to enjoy your own company! Do you ever get to experience solitude? If so, how? If not, why not?