Where do you go when you need solitude?
Solitude has two different connotations (in my opinion) – one is the freedom of aloneness, and one is the isolation of loneliness. The latter is the one that lots and lots of people are struggling with through this pandemic. But I have been steadily filling my home with humans for the past 15 years, and I fall into the former mindset; I’m always seeking solitude, because it happens so rarely.
Solitude comes in long and short segments. I’m technically alone for most of my work day. I go to my rented office and I don’t talk to anyone in the building for the most part (I say hello when I actually see people). But I’m not in solitude, because I’m constantly talking to people at work (both written and video). And at 3:30pm everyday, the twins come to my office on their walk home from school and then I’m very much not alone. But as far as external intrusion goes, work/my office is a place of conditional solitude. I can turn off Slack and focus on a task in the morning, and then I’m able to experience solitude.
At home, if I’m able to, I retreat to a bubble bath, in my bathroom that I love, in my claw-foot tub that I love, with my candles and my book. I am typically thriving in solitude during bubble baths. When the kids were smaller, if they caught wind of a bubble bath happening, they’d be in the bathroom in a shot, stripping down to hop in too. But now they let me have my space, so that’s nice.
Other times, if it’s the middle of a weekend day, and I’m the only parent home, solitude is harder to come by. It is not available in bathrooms. “I’m going to go potty, I’ll be back in 2 minutes.” “I’ll come with you mom!” “No, that’s ok.” “I don’t mind!” So when I need a moment to myself, I go in the pantry and close the door. I haven’t yet been found there, and it’s important no one finds me there, or else they’ll always look there first. So don’t tell Grant.
If Bob is wrangling the kids and I’ve already taken as many bubble baths as is prudent in a day, then I go to part of our master suite that has my art table and supplies, and I work on something creative. I like doing this in solitude.
Sometimes, all the solitude I get in the day is on the 3-minute car ride to pick Grant up from school.