The house is quiet this morning. Really quiet. Except for a few creaks. The birds chirping in the backyard. A lawnmower starting somewhere over the river. And the sounds of my keyboard clicking. Hubby is away all week canoeing and fishing in the wilds of Algonquin Park. And I'm here playing Greta Garbo.... "I want to be alone." And loving it.
I've always been content in my own company. And quite happy entertaining myself. Even as a child. Maybe that's part of being the youngest child by five years? I don't know. I just know that being alone, for me, is not lonely. It's time for replenishment. This was especially true when I was still teaching. When my days were a clamour of everybody wanting a piece of my time: students, teachers in my department, administrators, parents. You know, I'm beginning to think that I'm really an introvert who's been masquerading as an extrovert all these years.
Anyway... as I was saying, Hubby's away fishing for five days. And I'm on my own. Bliss. I've been reading. A lot. These are the two books I'm reading today.
And I've watched most of season three of Last Tango in Halifax. I love Derek Jacobi as Alan. Remember him as Brother Cadfael? Last Tango is a wonderful series, and just keeps on getting better and better.
I have two more books and a DVD from the library on deck.
The weather has been beautiful; between reading and watching, I've been walking. And lunching one day with a friend. And eating what I want, when I want. Breakfast at ten... dinner at eight-thirty or nine. But it's not all been self-indulgent activities. I have cleaned the house, a task I abhor. And I've been very attentive to Hubby's garden, watering the new sod and the potted herbs each day, picking the beans. But I must admit that I did these tasks in stints between reading, while plugged into a new Peter May mystery on my i-pod.
You see, for me, far from being lonely or depressing, being alone feels luxuriously self-indulgent. And I feel lucky (and a bit guilty, if I'm honest) that I am able to have this time. I know that the requirements of work or family do not allow everyone the luxury. At least everyone who desires time spent alone.
So this morning, before starting this post, I researched a bit about the solitary state, just surfing the internet, really. And I found this interesting article, a section of a book, by D.W. Winnicott, who was, according to Wikipedia, a noted English paediatrician and psychoanalyst. In his article "The Capacity To Be Alone", Winnicott discusses what he calls "the ability to be alone." He said much had been written about the fear of being alone, or the desire to be alone, but not much on the ability to be alone. And he describes the ability to be alone as a "sign of maturity in emotional development."
To be clear, I am no psychologist; I know little about psychology, beyond my first year university psych course and some educational psychology the theory of which I have long forgotten. And since D.W. Winnicott died in 1971, his theories may be woefully out of date... I don't know. My friend Alice, who is a psychologist, would know... maybe if she reads this she can fill us in on more current "being alone" theory.
But I do know that as much as I love company, doing things with friends, or with family, or my husband, I really need alone time. And at least once every year, I get that time... several days of it, in fact. When Hubby goes on his fishing trips. And I have the house to myself.
And I'm all alone. Sigh. And loving it.
Hey. Do you think this means that I'm showing signs of "emotional maturity?" Well, well, well, wonders never cease.
Do you like to be alone?
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