After an 18 year marriage crumbled, followed by several tries at relationships that ended with guys addicted to porn or lying or both, I came to cherish being single. I wasn't at all good at attracting good men, but I became very good at being happy living alone. I discovered I like my own company. I like being with my own thoughts.
Four to five months out of the year is spent in remote mountain terrain close to 11,000 feet (3352.8m) where there's no cell service and no land lines. There's no electricity; only my solar. Water is hauled in. The nearest part-time neighbor is a mile away. Grocery stores are 45 miles away. I thrive in the solitude. I have a satellite, so I have Internet for connectivity to the outside world.
People ask if I don't miss sharing my life with someone else. When I was married, my husband did not like traveling, hiking or camping, or doing many of the things in the city I enjoyed doing such as going to plays or concerts. I backpacked solo through Europe for two months when I turned forty. At another stage in my life I went back to Europe (had a boyfriend after my divorce) and traveled solo again for over a month. Between relationships, I backpacked through Asia for 5 months -- again, solo. I've never had a partner who would or could travel with me. As for all the other ways couples share their lives, I'm at a place in my life, where the trade off of not having that is so worth all the other things that being solo provides. So by way of a long explanation, no, I don't miss sharing my life with one special person.
In BRAIN PICKINGS WEEKLY, an email came to me today, and in a flash of synchronicity, it had a lead article about living alone. Here's an excerpt:
How to Be Alone: An Antidote to One of the
Central Anxieties and Greatest Paradoxes of Our Time
"If the odds of finding one's soul mate are so dreadfully dismal and the secret of lasting love is largely a matter of concession, is it any wonder that a growing number of people choose to go solo? The choice of solitude, of active aloneness, has relevance not only to romance but to all human bonds – even Emerson, perhaps the most eloquent champion of friendship in the English language, lived a significant portion of his life in active solitude, the very state that enabled him to produce his enduring essays and journals. And yet that choice is one our culture treats with equal parts apprehension and contempt, particularly in our age of fetishistic connectivity. Hemingway's famous assertion that solitude is essential for creative work is perhaps so oft-cited precisely because it is so radical and unnerving in its proposition."
At the same time, I can relate to people who love being married. I once did. I wouldn't have traded being married for anything. I loved, loved, loved having someone in my corner, someone to rely on and wake up to. But what I loved, in my situation, never really existed. I thought I was in love and living with the love of my life and that he was faithful and honest and real. I was wrong. It was a hard lesson, but a lasting one. I have no regrets. I harbor no resentment. I just picked up the pieces of my shattered life and began rebuilding a life much more aligned with my soul. Once you let go of everything and start over, amazing things can happen. But you have to truly let go in your heart of hearts.
"I got fascinated by silence; by what happens to the human spirit, to identity the personality when the talking stops, when you press the off button, when you venture out into that enormous emptiness. I was interested in silence as a lost cultural phenomenon, as a thing of beauty and as a space that had been explored and used over and over again by different individuals, for different reasons and with wildly differing results. I began to use my own life as a sort of laboratory to test some ideas and to find out what it felt like. Almost to my surprise, I found I loved silence. It suited me. I got greedy for more. In my hunt for more silence, I found this valley and built a house here, on the ruins of an old shepherd’s cottage."