Solitude

This post was originally published on 16th September 2018 and updated on 2nd August 2020

As I get older, I find myself enjoying my own company more and more. Perhaps it’s an age thing, but whatever it is, it crept up on me and took me by surprise.

Pre-London, I would be quite happy to spend time doing my own thing at home, particularly if I found I had the house to myself. Sadly, these times were rare.

At the time, I was living with someone who was the epitome of controlling. Wherever I went, he insisted on going with me. I didn’t know what it felt like to be on my own outside of our house, therefore I didn’t miss my own company. Nor did I realise how much I needed it.

Moving to London was the first time I really ever found myself on my own. With few friends here, and a job which took up not just my normal working hours, but a lot of my free time too, all of a sudden I was spending a lot of time either at work, or at home alone.

Living in London made me realise I had the freedom to be alone. I found myself dining out alone, going for long walks on my own, sitting in the park on my own, and even going to the cinema on my own. And I loved it. I felt free.

None of this had felt possible back home. But here, lots of people were doing the same thing. I felt less self conscious doing things on my own in the city. It felt more acceptable. But was it really a London thing? Maybe I had just changed? Grown up a bit? Realised that time alone didn’t have to be lonely or isolating? In fact, maybe I had realised that I just really, really needed some alone time. Perhaps it was time to discover who I really was.

It wasn’t all roses of course. Sometimes, there were days when I did feel lonely. I would be walking in the park and I’d see groups of friends together, laughing and having fun. I would get a pang of jealousy or envy, and carry on with whatever I was doing. I never did quite manage to master the art of finding ‘London’ friends.

After a year in London, I starting seeing someone who I was with for just over two years in the end. In the early days we were inseparable and moved in together after just 6 weeks…

It was pretty hard to admit 18 months into our relationship, that I needed some space. We were cooped up in a 1 bedroom flat and quite frankly everything was getting too much. I was craving my own company.

So I started to make the most of the free time I had before he came home from work and at weekends when he was working. I compiled a ‘London’ Bucket List and every weekend I made it my mission to tick something else off the list.

Not long after that, things came to a head, and our relationship came to an abrupt end. Remind me never to move in with someone after 6 weeks ever again…although ironically my dad proposed to my mum after just 6 weeks, and 37 years later they are still happily married. Anyway that’s a story for another day.

I still sometimes get nervous about going out on my own, but I don’t let that stop me. There are some places I wouldn’t go on my own, so I save those for the weekends my family or friends come to visit.

Even now, although I’m in what is probably the healthiest relationship I have been in, I still love spending time on my own. It’s great when we spend time together, but I’m always ready for some quiet ‘me time’ when he heads home.

If I don’t get enough time alone, I start to feel out of sorts. I get irritable and ratty. The good thing is that I’m getting better at being able to identify when I need that time alone. I now just need to get better at telling people I need some time out.

I took the photo below in Udaipur, India earlier this year. Even on this trip, although it was great to be able to travel with a group of fairly like minded people, I missed having time alone. One of my favourite days of the trip was in Udaipur, where we had some free time to go and do as we pleased. So I took myself off to City Palace and I spent the morning meandering through the palace, soaking up the bank holiday vibes, before finding myself a cafe overlooking the streets of Udaipur to have some lunch.

I felt at peace with myself once more.

Solitude really is good for the soul.

I’d love to hear from you about spending time alone. Do you crave alone time? Or are you in the camp that dislikes their own company? Are you able to ‘tactfully’ tell people when you need some time to yourself? I’d love to hear about your experiences in the comments box below.

In the meantime, I hope you’ve all had a lovely weekend, and found some time, even if it was just a few moments, for some peace and quiet.

19 Comments Add yours

  1. kagould17 says:

    I neither crave solitude nor dislike my own company. I had plenty of alone time in the early years and came to appreciate having someone to share my life with. 43 years later, we are still together. We each have our alone time, but do most things together. Covid pandemic is tough, if you trapped with someone full time in a small space. Fortunately, we have a large house and a big back yard. We do miss our kids, though. Stay well, enjoy the solitude, but don’t shun companionship.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It sounds as though you have a fantastic balance which is great 🙂 It’s funny because this evening as I type this, me and my partner are at our own flats after spending much of the weekend together, and I’m craving his company. Sometimes it is just nice to have someone else here even if you are engrossed in your own activities. Thank you so much for stopping by and sharing

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I need time alone but as a teacher with three kids, that’s tricky! I do have the dog who doesn’t answer back so walks with him give me time to think! Unfortunately, I live in a smallish town and going out to eat or to the cinema on your own would be viewed suspiciously! I now get to the point where I become Greta Garbo and announce that I’m going to the bedroom to read. Everyone knows better than to disturb me now!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I definitely understand that small town mindset! I wouldn’t dream of dining alone back in the Shire! I’m glad you’ve found your own ways of getting some alone time. Thank you for sharing 🙏🏻✨

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Even prepandemic I spent a good amount of time alone, as an introvert it’s just something I need, too much socializing is just tiring and stressful for me. I usually travel alone too although I have a short list of people who are like me and also need thier alone time and they are the only people I will travel with when I don’t go solo.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s so special when you meet like minded travellers who understand the need for each of you having your own space 🙏🏻 well done for having the courage to travel alone too ☺️

      Liked by 1 person

  4. K.L. Hale says:

    After several relationship “fails”, I’m very comfortable and joyful alone. I’m in a relationship. Yet, I live alone in my R.V. I’ve truly learned to love myself. I believe people need people. But this doesn’t always equate to marriage. I’ve traveled many miles alone~and it was then I learned to love myself and lean on faith. I truly believe each individual needs alone time. There are some that don’t and I couldn’t imagine it. Sometimes even me, myself, and I gets crowded. Lol. Thank you for following me. I’m glad I found you new friend! 💚

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I can so relate to this. I think many of us are brought up with a skewed image of relationships. If only we were taught from a young age to learn to love ourselves first, and to discover who we are, or who we want to become, before we dive head first into relationships. I’m glad you’ve got the space you need in your current relationship ☺️

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Alone time is essential for me. I think if you’re content by yourself and enjoy being alone, you’ll be happy for most of your life because you’re not seeking/expecting/relying on fulfillment from anyone else. (Don’t get me wrong — we all crave companionship to some degree!) But if someone special shows up and you can both bring your separate fulfillment together, that can make for a very successful (and rare) relationship. Great post and beautiful sunset!!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I couldn’t agree more. These days I definitely believe more in a partner enhancing your life rather than relying on them to make me happy. It’s a much healthier way of viewing relationships. I do think we have a good balance at the moment, but I do wonder what will happen one day if we decide to live together…I’ve got visions of me running to the hills 😂 thank you so much for stopping by and commenting 🙏🏻✨

      Liked by 2 people

  6. Such a moving and considered piece of writing/reflection! My full respect to you! I crave occasional solitude also! Albeit one day here or 2 days there. It is important in allowing us to process I guess! Thank you for sharing…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much Andi! I imagine it must be near on impossible for you both to have those quiet moments in your wonderfully fun household, but glad to hear you get the occasional day or two 🙏🏻✨

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Aaawh! (I never know how to spell that!) But I thank you for your words 💕moments out are always de-stressing. However returning to the chaos always makes life feel right! Haha…

        Liked by 1 person

  7. I spent most of my life living or working in London. At bad times I have identified with your feelings of envy at people enjoying friendships; at others I have appreciated how anonymous the city can be. Peace in solitude has definitely come to me with age.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I think that’s often the beauty of London living, you can just disappear amongst the crowds. I’m glad you’ve discovered peace in solitude as you’ve grown older 🙏🏻 it’s hard to get the balance right sometimes. I do fear I might upset my partner sometimes for enjoying my space (sometimes a little too much!), but hopefully he understands that I need that time alone so I can give 110% when we are together. Thank you for sharing your thoughts with me Derrick 🙏🏻✨

      Liked by 2 people

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