Savoir-faire: Week 12

Why is solitude essential?

I have felt loneliness and experienced solitude for long periods of time in my life. I was forced to acknowledge depression, but eventually I learnt to use this time well: I read, wrote and thought more than I ever had before. It made me stronger and more creative, even though there were times I missed my friends and family so much it hurt (I was living in the USA at this time).

Being on your own is often perceived as being a painful experience these days, but loneliness was not always viewed as negatively in the past. Solitude (a much better way of describing the experience) was respected, and sometimes even seen as a privileged retreat that was paid for.

It’s very rare we have enforced solitude as we have experienced this year, but this time will pass, and things will change. Before lockdown happened, when were the streets quiet, the roads calm and people weren’t rushing around past you?

Use this time of peace, calm and collective slow-down wisely: read books, and listen to the radio while cooking or writing cards or letters. If you switch the TV off, it’s much easier to get lost in an activity while listening to the radio. BBC Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs is a particular favourite of mine: varied and interesting music, why a person likes it, and a little bit about their life.

Become comfortable with yourself, look inward, really focus on YOU and you will become a stronger, more resilient and a happier partner to love and be loved. In the words of Maxime Lagace: “Solitude helps you find peace. Peace helps you find happiness.”