Solitude is a necessity because it changes us. It strengthens our relationships with loved ones, it sharpens our sensitivity toward ourselves and others, it brings peace and healing, it helps us stay centered and sane in the midst of “choice overload,” and it may even help us live longer.
Real solitude is a lost art. I am not referring here to simply making time for ourselves, because these times usually involve time with friends, workouts, or running errands. I am referring to aloneness and quiet. Solitude involves relaxing, thinking, and very often, not thinking. It is a time of stillness, reflection, or meditation.
Even as we think of these types of activities, we see them as un-American because they involve not doing something. In solitude, nothing is visibly accomplished, and this idea feels foreign to most American mothers. But we need to refamiliarize ourselves with it because we need it.
I think of wonderful friends and colleagues who are so overloaded with kids’ schedules, work schedules, and frenetic lives that I worry how long they can keep up the pace. Solitude is not a luxury for any of us women. It is a necessity and will become an even greater necessity in the years ahead because solitude is the antidote to “choice exhaustion,” the fatigue that comes from being overloaded with too many choices: from types of bread to which classes to take to styles of blue jeans.
Do you find yourself exhausted by choices?
How much solitude do you enjoy in your everyday life?
Moms, find more encouragement in my book, The 10 Habits of Happy Mothers