Wednesday, April 24, 2013

I Love...Solitude

Image by Michal Marcol via
 When I was a freshman in High School, I had exactly one hour of time alone per day. The middle school ended an hour later than the high school, so while my parents were at work and my younger siblings still in class, I had one fabulous hour to read and have a snack and daydream in an otherwise vacant house.

[Insert large number here] years later, I still look back and remember how precious that time was to me.

Don't get me wrong. I like being with people. I have good friends, great colleagues, and I love my family. But when you have children, even going to the bathroom is a group activity. So I also cherish the time I have all by myself.

This past weekend made it clear to me once again, when we celebrated my son's birthday and had a total of thirteen people in the house.


In Germany, "inviting someone over" often means lunch, afternoon cake/coffee and finally dinner, so that meant the house was full from 11:00 am until 7:00 pm.

So while it was great seeing everyone, I couldn't help but have moments where I wished for silence.

In preparation for this blog, I did a Google search for images with the topic "Solitude".  I was looking for a wonderful picture that would illustrate how peaceful being alone can be.

The Google result shocked me. Almost every image I found looked lonely. In the pictures, most people were photographed from the back - anonymous. Every person had their head bowed as if emotionally crushed or ashamed. One picture even showed a naked man curled in the fetal position in the corner of a cardboard box.  Ouch!

That wasn't the solitude I was thinking of!

When I say "I love solitude", I mean the quiet calm of being alone with your thoughts. No tasks to be received any minute. No expectations from others on how you should act.

What do you think when you hear the word "solitude"? Is the connotation good or bad for you? Are you the type to love being surrounded by others or do you need your down time too?


  1. The right balance is the key.
    I personally need slightly more “quality” time with myself than being in company.
    I enjoy being with friends and family, but I also like to be with myself and have time to live my pace,
    read, listen to music and to soliloquize.
    I’m in the lucky situation to enjoy solitude, because I feel so safe with my friends that I know whenever I need them they would be there.
    There was a time when my friends and family have been far away from me. Funnily enough during
    that phase there was nothing good about solitude. All the things I usually like doing alone was not
    appealing anymore.
    Yes, I enjoy solitude and it’s important to me, but only because I’m integrated in strong social network which make me feel safe and secure. Thank you to all my friends out there

  2. Ooh, I agree with you, maslotan. I completely missed Supply and Demand. Between work and family, I don't have much of a chance at solitude right now. But when I first moved to Germany and didn't know anyone, I was alone most of the time. Back then, I actually decided it was my "job" to go out and meet people. Since I'm an introvert, I had to see it that way or I would have hidden in my dorm room all day. And at that time, being alone wasn't only good, it was also lonely. To enjoy the solitude, I need to know that it's a choice.