Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Thoughts on Solitude

Chelle sometimes worries about me. During the fall semester, she works a lot of long hours at her job, and since I teach only in the mornings, I pretty much have afternoons to myself. Sounds luxurious, but in truth I spend most of my afternoons grading papers and doing lesson plans. And I blog, and I'll visit with some of my friends on Facebook between grading papers.

But when she works late, especially several nights in a row, she worries that I'm home alone doing nothing but living in my head too much, and she has a residual worry that if something upsets me, I may relapse. Now this last worry has pretty much gone away for her over time, and I'm sure more time will make it vanish. I protect my sobriety. Alcohol is nothing I care to ever indulge in again. Not even the thought of one drink appeals. I'd much rather pry my fingernails off, one by one, with a pair of tongs.

So I always have to remind her that I'm by nature an introvert. I deal with 55 students in the morning, along with assorted colleagues, and though I enjoy them all, being sociable exhausts me. (Extroverts are the opposite: they are invigorated by interactions with others. They come alive.) Me, I get sapped. For equilibrium to return, I need to get quiet for a while.

Now this was dangerous when I was drinking, because it basically turned into my being a closet drinker, the kind of alcoholic who'd sit at home and drink myself into a stewing hot mess.

But this isn't what I do at home now. I'll chat with a couple people, sometimes Skype, sometimes on the phone. I'll do chores. And once all the work is done, I take "me" time: sometimes I'll lift weights (I need to do more of that); I'll read; I'll find something on Netflix or amazon--I do things to engage my intellect. Like now: I'm making my way through Season One of Through the Wormhole and that is teaching me about some interesting new discoveries and theories and postulations in physics, which I will then quite happily start mentally riffing on: how does God fit into this? Do what we perceive as spirits or ghosts fit into this? I mean, if particles are conscious. . . . Maybe reincarnation is really not a half-baked wishful thinking fear of death kind of idea, and so on. This is the kind of stuff that invigorates and refreshes me. I feel most like myself when I'm continuing to learn about this universe we all inhabit. And yes, I meditate.

So, to my dear Chelle, and to my dear friends who worry I get lonesome, and to those who think solitude is a fate worse than death: Au contraire.

As far as I'm concerned, for me, solitude is only bad if I'm hiding from something.


Di said...

I can sooo relate to this. Besides if I ever get lonesome, I can skype or text you. That is nice.

Joyce said...

Seriously, only boring people get bored, you know? If I do get bored, it's usually not for long. Very seldom do I get lonesome. Probably because I spent so much time alone as a kid.

Di Diamund said...

and because you can text or skype me lol

Joyce said...

Well, there's also that, beautiful ;-)