I would class myself as an introvert, so I get my fair share of solitude every day. Well, at least I used to think so. Now, I’m not so sure.
Here is the definition of solitude:
Solitude is a state of seclusion or isolation, i.e. lack of contact with people.
Let’s look at what I consider to be my own solitude. It’s usually early mornings, walking, running, biking, exercising, my day off (I work a four day week), a planned activity by myself etc. As I think about those more, there’s usually a main activity going on with something else in the background – some type of distraction (podcast, music, phone etc.)
Is that really solitude? I guess it depends on how you think about solitude. If it’s just being by myself with a lack of contact with people, I guess it ticks the box. But, I also like to think about solitude as a time to rest and think. When I’m doing at least one thing, there’s not alot of resting and thinking going on.
So, I’m going to change how I think about solitude. Yes, it’s about being alone with myself. But, it’s also about creating space to think, rest and be alone with my own thoughts. Facing the discomfort that comes with being with yourself – even bored. It makes me think of one of my favourite books, Daily Rituals. It’s not a coincidence that some of the most successful artists had a daily routine that created space for thinking and resting.
I’m going to make a big effort to get some (real) solitude every day. Earlier, I went on a long dog walk and left my phone at home. I felt good. I had feelings of freedom, simple and uncluttered, which was nice. I look forward to more of that.
P.S Again, I’m reminded about the power of writing. This post was mostly going to be about how important solitude was and that I get a fair amount of it. But then I started to think more deeply about what solitude was. That’s when ‘resting and thinking’ came to me. And I realised, wow, I’m spending a lot of time alone, but it’s not really solitude. If I hadn’t decided to sit down and write about it, I probably wouldn’t have had that shift.