Not only do I value solitude, I crave it. It is utterly necessary for me to spend time by myself in order to function socially and professionally. I can recharge my soul, replenish my mind and muster up the energy it takes for me as an extrovert with introvert tendencies just to walk out of the house each day. My friends and family know the importance of this time. I’ve been described as “independent” since my pre-teen years and I assume this is a direct correlation to the amount of time I prefer to spend alone. Most of my adult relationships are based on this truth.
There is an art to being alone. When treated recklessly it's easy to replace alone time with loneliness. I’ve found I can quickly transition from one to the other. From a pleasant afternoon alone to an evening feeling isolated. Wishing for privacy in one moment then craving attention the next. No one experiences this more than my husband. I have no idea how he deals with these shifts that more often than not happen seamlessly within my own mind. Sometimes, when I'm feeling especially rational, I do this thing with my mouth where I verbally explain what I want but I'm not always so good at it.
It's a delicate balance; walking the line with alone-ness on one side and loneliness on the other. I'm sure wanting to be alone all the time or needing company every waking moment present their own difficulties, but at least the latter need-states aren't constantly in flux, ready to shift on a whim. What is especially conflicting is the feeling of being lonely even when another human is right next to you. As I think about the new year ahead of me, or in fleeting moments of introspection, I dedicate myself to the effort of self-recognition. The idea that with some consideration I can identify what I need, when I need it, and of course committing to sharing those feelings. I know I'll falter but at least I can say I'm trying.
I shared this post with the husband; wanting to hear his thoughts and any additions he, as the primary witness to my lapses in communication, may encourage me to share. Being the jovial, half-glass-full kind of guy he is, made a joke that at least when I fall victim to bouts of reclusiveness, with the occasional side of snippy attitude, I at least have endless hours of "Friends" to watch on Netflix (Get it? I have Friends...he tells very corny jokes). Not exactly the concise and eloquent conclusion I was looking for but it can certainly serve as a reminder that I always have someone on my side. No matter what.