Embrace Solitude; Discover Yourself

A friend and I were chatting once and the “dating” topic came up. We were flirting and he told me that he loved connecting with me as I would always say things that would make him smile from his heart. Well, I loved the sound of it, but I knew there was a specific reason behind that so I got him to speak. I understood that my dear friend doesn’t like being single. For him, single is lonely. Even though he has lovely friends with whom he hangs out pretty much every day but he still felt a void. He has been single for a while now and it was killing him. He told me that he is not the kind who would date for sex and physical needs but he just wanted to be someone’s man, someone’s superhero and he has had almost no luck in serious or lasting relationships.

I am sure we all have been through this phase. So, out of personal experience I asked him to embrace his single-hood. Every person is destined for a partner in their lives. Meeting the destined one may be immediate or it may take time, even years for that matter. But that does not mean that we should go hooking up with people just to avoid being single. I explained to him why being single is as awesome as being mingled.

As we talked we discussed about what he liked doing the most? His first response fascinated me because not all the people do that. He told me, he loved helping people, along with that he also loves going on long rides and he loves keeping up with the dynamism in the fashion industry. I advised him that with these activities, he can develop and find himself. I suggested to join an NGO and donate them not just money but clothes, books, food etc. or be a part of them by teaching, organizing events for them etc. I also told him to go on long rides/drives alone, admire the nature and think about his life and goals. Because when one is alone, the best ideas about business, activities, self-discovery come in range. I explained that he can find something interesting which he can turn it into a hobby and then into passion and then probably into business. Amidst this, the “being-single” part will be there and may occasionally creep up but these things will certainly overpower the creeper. He liked the ideas and he seemed to have started working towards them almost immediately.

I once read an article on Brain Pickings Artist Louise Bourgeois on How Solitude Enriches Creative Work – it actually inspired me to write this article – in which Agnes Martin says, “best things happen in life when you are alone” . And I agree with her. When I was not in a relationship (or to be honest, just broken up), I took my best friend’s advice a little too seriously. She said, “be single, for its better.” I agreed, because the reason I was not in a relationship was that my ex-boyfriend left me for another girl. I was heartbroken and taking her advice changed me completely. I embraced my single-ness in such a way that I found a new passion, a new career. When you are alone, it gives you a chance to stop and reflect upon certain things in life. When I was embracing my solitude, there were times when I used to be home, listening to songs, thinking about what I really wanted to do in life. At times, I would go to a coffee shop where I could get free-wifi and would go through a list of careers I was interested in and research about them. I completely concentrated on building my career and discovering what I was capable of.

I enjoyed that phase and when the time was right I met a wonderful man. A man who respects me and loves for what I am. He loves me in everything I do. When I write, when I dance, when I sing (he even encourages me to practice so that we can perform together). In the same article, Elizabeth Bishop believes that everyone should experience at least one prolonged period of solitude. This certainly doesn’t mean breakups but losing a loved one, a friend’s betrayal can also knock you alone. I believe that too. Mine was of 3.5 years and it was epic. During this time, I realized, that I can love myself, that I can enjoy and I don’t need a guy for that. I had everything; a good job and a loving family, amazing friends, guys whom I could flirt with and yet there was a void in me. But when I started reflecting on the things in my life, I started loving that void. I also filled it by doing the things I love.

What I understood from the article, is that the solitude these writers and thinkers are talking about, is not locking yourself and shutting out the world. Nor are they asking you to give up your friends and family and live all by yourself. Even when a loved one passes away, when a friend betrays, or you experience a rejection or breakup, you are alone but there are still people who care for you. There is a reason for every season. Solitude comes to teach something. It is very important that you brace yourself and don’t fall in the trap of depression. Rather think about how you can make something out of this aloneness. It is hard to concentrate on making something you are not in a state. I have been desperately wanting to be in a relationship during those 3 years, especially when I saw my best friend and her boyfriend but I was determined to not let that desperation get to me. I wanted to show people that even when I am alone, I can be happy, creative, I can love myself better.

Charles Bukowski said that “being alone never felt right, sometimes it felt good but it never felt right.” and he is right. No one wants to be alone and no one should be. It is dreadful to have no one to talk to, but sometimes it feels good to be alone. Your imagination and brain works better. I know it’s easier said than done, but I am also saying that I have been there and done that! Go ahead and make the best out of your alone time. As they say, solitude is the best society. You don’t have to abandon the world and go in a cocoon. Just sit in a coffee shop, think about what you want in and from life and work towards it. Things will fall in its rightful places and you won’t even know when the phase is over. Because you have passed the test which destiny gave you. There would be times when you would crave to be alone. And life would not give the opportunity again to get your shit straight. I crave for solitude and I do get the mini versions for it that may last a weekend at the maximum. But as someone said opportunity doesn’t knock twice. Nor would solitude.

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