Loneliness v. Solitude

These two are somewhat the same, yet vastly different. How?

We’ve talked about loneliness before. It’s gut wrenching, and I’ve experienced it many times. It was the worst when my kids were gone to their Dad’s. I couldn’t stay home alone with the dog. I had to go somewhere. Movie alone, anything as long as I wasn’t alone. After a couple years, I learned to enjoy the quiet. It was great. I missed the kids, but knew they’d be home soon enough. That is solitude. Being ok with being alone. Happy with your own company. Comfortable with you. That is a huge accomplishment.

Can you have solitude with two people in a home? Why not? The other morning, the Babe told me when he got up early with the dogs; he made coffee and didn’t even turn on the television like usual. I’m happy for him. He wasn’t like that 27 years ago when we met. He never took a vacation day and stayed home. Long weekends? He’d go to Sioux Falls to visit family. Now? Our deck and patio feel like vacation every time we hit the chairs. Ahhhh. Cannot wait for the weather to break so we can do it again.

It’s amazing what you learn to do when you mature and age. Life is full of lessons along the way. When we think we know it all is when we know the least. As we admit we’re wrong often, we are free to absorb life and its lessons. As we learn, we grow.

I love the learning I’ve done since diving into this author part of my life. So much knowledge, so much more to learn. I love that the stories I tell are my own. While many memories may not have exact historical information in them, I believe that is not the point. The point is the memories and how you tell the stories of them. Some authors choose historical novels. Some historical fiction. I like historical fiction. Jennifer Chiaverini writes wonderful historical fiction. She began with the Civil war era, concentrating on the Lincoln administration and family. One I particularly enjoyed was “Mrs. Lincoln’s Dressmaker.” I have others to read about World War Two and the resistance women.

Lots of quilting today. Might finish that tomorrow. Hoping so. Hope you had a productive weekend. I believe we did. Anyone else have ideas on what I might blog about? I’m collecting quite a few ideas. I appreciate and welcome your ideas. Take care, and we’ll see each other tomorrow. Be safe out there.

Sunday, 11/13/2022, Solitude

“The Worst Loneliness is not to be comfortable with yourself.”  Mark Twain

When we gathered at the VFW Post for Veterans Day, we sat with an old friend and just caught up. It was wonderful. The table of people was all retirement age, and we laughed and shared funny things about getting older. 

Some of us admitted to taking a nap nearly every day and liking it. Others said, “Nope, never.” I do, but I think my body is just spent after a few hours of doing stuff. Today, I sewed together eight rows of blocks for Kayla’s quilt. By 1 p.m., I was on the heating pad. 

Our friends all agreed it’s great to be able to do just about whatever you wanted. I don’t know of what I’d rather be doing, now that the quilt blocks are tamed, the rest needs combining, then all the quilting, etc. I’m looking forward to it. 

Travel would be nice, but the Babe’s not comfortable doing that. He’s now wanting to be far away from his doctors. I can’t say I blame him. I’m not wanting to be away from our comfy home, bed, and hobbies for long. 

I think we’ve all reached what’s known as contentment. We are all comfortable with ourselves. We don’t need to go prove anything. As Dorothy said, “There is no place like home.” How long it takes for us to learn that!

When I was first divorced in 1982 and 30 years old, when the kids left with their dad on Saturday afternoon, I had to leave the house. Go find anything to do. I didn’t want to be there alone. I was never alone in my whole adult life. I had never lived alone. Yet, I couldn’t be alone on a Saturday night while the kids were gone.

I didn’t have many single women as friends, who were my age. Most were older. And bitter about life and men. I did not want to end up that way. No, thanks. I’ll do something else than listen to their negativity. The younger gals had no kids, no responsibilities. That wasn’t for me, either. 

I welcomed 30, while many single co-workers hated it. They were old maids. Wow. LIfe has sure changed, hasn’t it? In the years that followed, I learned to love staying home – even alone. I look forward to it now, though it isn’t for long. I’ve learned to take whatever comes along, and to deal with it. 

When I was first put on long term disability, I went three times a week at an early hour to Aquatic Therapy. Warm water therapy is heaven. I’d still go, but I’m allergic to the chemicals they put in the water to keep it clear and sanitary. Back then, the Babe and I lived in my house, on top of a hill with no outlet. Snow was still pretty bad back in 2000. We rarely saw a snowplow until it was nearly melted. If the weather was icy, the hill was treacherous. I became angry if I couldn’t get out to therapy on those days. The Babe and my kids lovingly didn’t want me to either be in an accident or slip and fall walking to and from the car. My delicate spine and lingering injuries couldn’t risk more injury. 

Finally, in order to deal with my anger, I took my 35mm camera outside (with good winter boots, my cell phone and both dogs we had then), and walked in the yard, taking photos of the wintery wonderland. I learned quickly how to take that anger, disappointment in my condition and myself, and turn it into something else; learning how to take photos in the snow. I learned to deal with it. It took a while, but I learned. I was young (48 years old) and learning to deal with disability. That is never fun.

It was during that late winter I found quilting as a new hobby and as a way to end my depression by creating something beautiful. I’m still at it, twenty-two years later. Life is so rich, and I want to encourage anyone who is disabled; with patience, you can find a rewarding hobby and way to pass your time. Please, don’t give up. And you are more able than you think. I’ve been there. It gets better, and you have to put in the work. Be willing.

Work on finding peace and contentment with your own company. You may be surprised at how much you enjoy yourself. Let’s have a great day, and we’ll see each other tomorrow.