I’m a loner. Always been that way since I can remember. When I was growing up I often went on wandering around by myself instead of playing with my siblings. I rather collect whatever interesting things I could find washed up on shore or pretend I was a pirate aboard my ship on the way to yet another adventure than be with other kids. I am happy when I’m alone.
“I care for myself. The more solitary, the more friendless, the more unsustained I am, the more I will respect myself.”
― Charlotte Brontë
Later on in life I found out (after countless trials) that I have nothing in common with other women (I know) their interests lie somewhere else very far from mine, and vice versa. I can get along better with men. They are more honest and direct. I like that.
When I get married, I often took time away from my husband and children, going on holidays by my own. I need it. Personal space and freedom. I respect others theirs and seldom interfere with my husband comings and goings. He would tell me if he wanted me to know.
Family (or social) gatherings tire me. I need at least three weeks to recuperate after I’ve been to one. Little talks and constant nonsensical chatters give me headaches. I often wonder why most people open their mouths when they don’t have something relevant to say. Waste of time I find.
On the broad spectrum of solitude, I lean toward the extreme end: I work alone, as well as live alone, so I can pass an entire day without uttering so much as a hello to another human being. Sometimes a day’s conversation consists of only five words, uttered at the local Starbucks: ‘Large coffee with milk, please.’ -Caroline Knapp
I get lonely sometimes. Who doesn’t? But I prefer window shopping, libraries or bookstores than calling someone for a quick tête-à-tête. I can stand (though not for a long time) being surrounded with strangers that have nothing to do with me personally and want nothing from me. That is how far I would seek company. Anything more would be complicated. I found out by experience that there is no unconditional relationship. People always want something I can’t give in return. A friendship means responsibilities. They would invite you to dinner (you don’t want to go but have to) and you have to invite them in return sooner or later. Before you know you are deeply buried in this confusing circle of duties and social ethos and there is no way out unless you want to commit social suicide. No, thank you. Not for me.
Here is Ode on Solitude by Alexander Pope, one of my favorite poets.
Happy the man, whose wish and careA few paternal acres bound,Content to breathe his native air,In his own ground.Whose herds with milk, whose fields with bread,Whose flocks supply him with attire,Whose trees in summer yield him shade,In winter fire.Blest, who can unconcernedly findHours, days, and years slide soft away,In health of body, peace of mind,Quiet by day,Sound sleep by night; study and ease,Together mixed; sweet recreation;And innocence, which most does please,With meditation.Thus let me live, unseen, unknown;Thus unlamented let me die;Steal from the world, and not a stoneTell where I lie.