A friend wrote to me this week with a comment on aloneness that has me thinking. I spend a lot of time alone. I work from home. I live alone. My family and friends are close by and I see them regularly but the majority of my time I spend alone.
As I think about that I realize that, through out my life, that has often been the case. As a student and a writer it is necessary to be alone so that the muses can come and work their magic. As a mother living away from her adult children and her parents, I spent time alone. Traveling for work I was alone in hotels and airports. At the lake house I spent days alone.
So why is it that now I feel like ‘alone’ is becoming ‘on my own’? My doctor was kind enough to remind me to get out everyday where there are people. He showed genuine concern for this sixty something female living alone in a condo. So much so that I felt a little of his concern and I didn’t go straight home from his office but went and spent an hour at Chapters … alone in a crowd.
I was speaking with another friend who was talking about the increasing number of singles living alone in our city and was musing about how the city could best serve those people. He mentioned, too, that there are also a lot of married people experiencing degrees of aloneness  and loneliness even though they were a part of a couple. I guess that is true. For me that might be a higher degree of alone.
I watch my daughters with their busy schedules juggling work and children and hockey and dance and social life and I know that they would enjoy a little alone time now and then just as a break from the hectic pace they keep. Where as a day at home would be a welcome reprieve from the business of the world to them, for me it is a problem to be solved. Keeping active and engaged helps people live longer and I intend to live a long time. So I dance and I curl and I take piano lessons and I still travel for work from time to time.¬† I visit friends or invite them in.¬† I get tickets for shows and I still go to Chapters when I can’t think where else to go.
I am on my own. I make my own decisions (although I run the important ones by my daughters and sometimes a friend or two). I have created a life that is comfortable for me with enough freedom and enough opportunities for social interaction. The aloneness I experience shows up as sadness or loneliness from time to time but I believe that my friend is right … it is something that everyone experiences. It is a part of the human condition.
How we deal with it makes all the difference.