Remember how Into the Wild ends with that message "Happiness only real when shared"? I understand that, but I can't believe it. As much as I love that story, I never did believe that part. If that were true, then I must be constantly miserable these days. I spend 85% of my time at Smith alone. I work as many hours as I can at the daycare, I go to classes, and then I'm alone. And sometimes it's agonizing to feel so lonely in a house full of people, in a college of two or three thousand women, in such a lovely lively town.
I consider myself a bit of a loner, but I reach a certain point sometimes where I start to crack and crave attention and conversation and the presence of another soul next to me. There are things I can do about it. Reach out. I do that from time to time but not as much as I should, maybe. Mostly, I've been trying to find the happiness in the peaceful nature of solitude.
Especially with all the technology and social networks, I feel we have all grown to become afraid of solitude. In fact, I know it. Sometimes when I close my computer right after spending a long time online, I get a strange feeling that is so uncomfortable, I feel the urge to open the computer and check Facebook... or something. But I can get a lot done when I'm alone! Write songs. Write letters. Paint. Sleep. Organize my room. Declutter. Yoga. Journal. Meditate. Read books. Play the guitar. etc.
Last semester was very difficult because I was only starting to deal with being alone all the time, but now I feel like I've grown to understand it better, to deal with it better. Knowing how to be alone without feeling lonely opens so many doors. You can do anything. You don't have to rely on the availability of others. You don't have to wait for anyone. You only ask yourself 'Are you ready?' and then go ahead and live it up! I spend more time doing things that make me happy. I've been reading a lot more. It used to be my favorite activity. I remember coming home from middle school, to a quiet, empty apartment, and just laying on my bed with the sun coming in through the window, reading a book in silence.
There is strength in solitude, but we are all so numb by being connected 24/7. To simplify everything, let me just say that we created language, and we created the words "loneliness" and "solitude". They basically describe the same phenomenon. The mind is everything and I think our minds are powerful enough that we can choose to either feel the agony of loneliness or the glory of solitude. So what is it?