Solitude is often feared or avoided because it is associated with isolation, abandonment, or loneliness. Yet for some people solitude is the occasion for the most serene, intense or exhilarating moments in life. Being alone may provide the necessary setting for spiritual search and attempt to understand life's meaning. Solitude is a time to enjoy one's sense of self. For a person to really experience solitude, it must be sought out with expectation and gratitude.
Everyone is not happy being alone. Many people avoid time alone because they are uncomfortable in that state. In "The Reward of Living a Solitary Life", May Sartons states "that, suddenly alone, he would discover that he bored himself, or that there was, quite simply, no self there to meet" (880). These people may experience boredom or even fear at the prospect of being by themselves. Rather than enjoying a time of solitude, they feel discomfort and even misery. This is true loneliness. People who cannot feel happiness alone often do not understand the beauty of solitude. Those who seek solitude, on the other hand, have a sense of peace and contentment wash over them when they enjoy an activity by themselves. Solitude can be spent reading, writing, walking, cooking, or any activity that is renewing when experienced alone. May Sarton said, "For me the most interesting thing about solitary life, and mine has been that for the last twenty years, is that it becomes increasingly rewarding" (881). It can be a time of personal growth and contribute to well-being. In solitude, many people re-create themselves or at least re-connect with that sense of self. To those who need solitude, it is an essential time that must be carved out of each day or at least every few days. It is a type of nourishment that is necessary to keep one's soul or spirit alive. Solitude is what I would describe as total awareness of myself. That moment when I am so relieved to be alone, in the quiet, grateful for a moments...
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