Even Beyonce knows loneliness is different from solitude
SHE was talking to me about learning to live by herself. She told me how she struggled with loneliness and making her life meaningful when at times it could feel very empty. Living alone can take a bit of getting used to, she said, it's tough and there are also moments when it's not.
Einstein said, "I live in that solitude which is painful in youth, but delicious in the years of maturity.” Some find living alone a delicious luxury. After all, no one is annoyingly putting the egg whisk in the wrong place, leaving lights on or making other transgressions on your well-ordered household systems.
Sometimes it happens that living alone is not a choice. I remembered another friend telling me of catching a train and finding that many of the passengers were widows. (Did you know that the collective noun for a group of widows is an ambush? I am not quite sure what to make of that). These widows were cheerful. "We support each other,” they said. "We know dinner time can be the time where you feel loss the most, so we eat together, even though wThese practical women know that no one can ease pain but a shared meal or an outing go some way toward softening the sharp edge of loneliness. e all have our own place to live,” J explained. "I have had to come to understand she said, about the difference between loneliness and solitude. I sometimes feel lonely, a bit mournful, and sorry for myself. But solitude I relish. I love the quietude and opportunity to sink deeply into my thoughts.”
Solitude can be therapeutic. Loneliness can be hard. As humans, we long for connection., to know we count. Beyonce sang I Was Here on World Humanitarian Day in 2012 in recognition of the human impulse to know we didn't live for nothing. (Side note: is there anything Beyonce doesn't do?).
We need to know we matter. In 1862, 38 Dakota Indians were hanged in a terrible event, the largest mass execution in US history. As the last moment came they shouted their name and called out: in their language "I'm here! I'm here!”
In essence, embrace solitude for the benefit of your soul. Build your community, visit your lonely friends, and share goodwill. Lord knows we all need it in these treacherous and confusing times.