Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Solitary Time Together

Writers spend a lot of time alone at the keyboard.

It goes, almost without saying that we, writers, are by nature solitary creatures, but lately, what with the massive snow followed by massive amounts of snow days, I haven't had as much alone time which led me to ask the following question:

If I can't be alone, who do I love to be alone with?

The answer isn't as obvious as you might think. There's the obvious romantic answer, I mean, I am married and all, but the deeper I dug the more I realized the answer is also a dividing line between the people in my life.

It should come as no surprise that my children fall on the side of the line that's closest to my heart.

I love hanging out with them together, but so often they form a solitary unit. It's only when I break them apart, take advantage of those moments when one was invited for a sleepover and the other is lolloping around the house that I get a glimpse of where they're going and who they might become.

It's in those moments of one-on-one time that step out of my role as caretaker and see these incredible people that I have the privilege of shepherding towards adulthood.

And of course, there's my friends...but which friends?

Despite my occupation, I'm a social creature and tend to use the word friend broadly. But the more I thought about who I love to be alone with, the more I realized that even though I'm friendly with many, many people, there's a huge difference between an enjoyable ten minutes of social banter at a playdate pick up and the kinds of soul baring conversations that have the ability to compress two hours and make it feel as though only ten minutes have passed.

It's those friends, the ones who I never let go to voicemail, the ones who I always manage to carve time out of my day in order to connect, those are the people who I love to be alone with.

Friend seems like too casual of a word for those people, BFF makes light of the relationship and even though they feel like family, that's not right either. They're like the grown up version of blood sisters, except instead of rubbing our bloody palms together we bare our souls.

And lastly, there's my self.

I alluded to it above. In order to be able to process all the thoughts, feelings and emotions brought to life by friends and loved ones, I need quiet time to think my thoughts and day dream. Is it weird and narcissistic to love being by oneself?

I'm not sure and I'm not sure I care about the answer. All I know is I feel lucky to be the kind of person who relishes that precious time spent lost in that particular fog where thoughts go from vague notions into full-fledged creations.

What about you? Who are your favorite people to be alone with and do you need time on your own to bring sense and order to your world?


12 comments:

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I appreciate time by myself. You have to know yourself well before you can know others.
That's cool you enjoy one on one times with your kids.

Julie Flanders said...

If it's weird and narcissistic then I'm right there with you. There are people I love being with but I also love being by myself.

That picture is adorable. You both look so happy!

Beylit said...

I like my alone time, I really do, but only in short bursts. I prefer to have at least one person around even if they aren't interacting with me. I find their presence comforting.
The husbeast is an obvious choice, but I also have about three very close friends that also fit in this role perfectly. I judge it by how willing I am to sit in silence with the person. If we can have comfortable silence then I am all in.

Barbara Watson said...

Being alone is important and keeps me grounded. And when it comes to being with others, my immediate family excluded, I'm much better one on one. That's where the real talking gets done and the real friendships get built for me.

D.G. Hudson said...

I love to spend time with hubs, but I need quiet time to write. Hubs has a few hobbies so I get my writing time then.

If a writer doesn't get time for the self, he or she can start to get grumpy. Cute photo!

Carol Kilgore said...

I definitely need Alone Time. Without it, I'm a cranky grouch. With it, I'm a fairly normal human.

Joanne Noragon said...

I just mentioned this on another blog, but it bears saying again. I have three BFF's over my life time, still here. We get out our calendars and make our next date when we get together now. And, a room of one's own for alone time is excellent, too.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

I'm an only child, so time to myself is precious. I need it and get cranky if I'm denied time alone. (Just ask my husband after he's been home several days in a row due to snow - LOL)

Pk Hrezo said...

I love getting those glimpses in my kids too. And I always feel so so blessed. I don't think there's another feeling quite like it in the world.
And I am such a loner. I love social interaction, but I require LOTS of alone time and it makes me perfectly content. I lived alone for many years before I got married and I treasure that time I got to grow into the woman I wanted to be and know I only needed to rely on myself. I go to movies by myself, lunch, beach,you name it. I went to Italy by myself once too.
Friends used to give me a hard time and I never got that. I was always wondering why they were so afraid of being alone?
Anyway, I think the fact we are writers/readers makes a differnece cuz we are comfy with quiet and we know how to entertain ourselves. :)
And my fave buddy of all to spend time with?? My dog. He is the best bud a person could ever have.

Nicki Elson said...

Oh, I feel very blessed to be an introvert. Makes the marriage a little tough because my husband is a strong extrovert, but I think after 20 years we've got most of the kinks worked out.

Bring on spring! I have had it with this winter.

Ella said...

You are right it is so part of the creative process! I have to be alone-I will make time, skip sleep and do cartwheels to find it.

I love your post-it frames us creative souls-so well!

I love your hair~

Shell Flower said...

Alone time is crucial. Sometimes I think my coworkers hate me because I read in the break room and don't socialize. At home there is my boyfriend, who I do love to spend one-on-one time with, and my son still comes over almost every day. I'd rather spend more time with them and try to squeeze in "me" time elsewhere. Being alone in the house is a rare treat.