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Solitude is the soul's holiday

I've been testing the waters of solitude for a little while now. I'm approaching seven months of living alone. Really alone. No housemates, or boyfriends. Just me and coco, kicking it on the couch watching movies or dancing to Kasey Chambers with a glass of pinot grigio.

It's been challenging, I'm very open on this blog and I refuse to pretend like it's been easy. You see, I'm a serial cohabiter. I know, I know, you laugh at me.

"But you're only 21? How can you claim that?"

Well, I'm 21 yes, but I've spent the last four years living out of home. I've lived in share houses, rented from my mum, rented with friends and lived with two boyfriends. And I'm 0/2 with those. But this is the first time I've been on my own.

And even then, I spent about four months sharing my home with yet another guy here and there. Thankfully it didn't end up being an 0/3 situation, more of an 0/2.5 I suppose. But I digress. This is a post I wanted to write about being alone and how I'm coping with it.

I'm very much a romantic. I've spent my younger years planning out my future with a fine tooth comb. I've made at least ten separate paths, plotted them out and considered where each might end up but I've never just plodded along without a clear path in front of me. In a lot of those paths I was married by 24 (because I like even numbers) with a couple of kids by 30.

Now, being 21 and with two failed relationships under my belt I'm starting to think those numbers are a little laughable.

My mum used to tell me that I had to be comfortable with being alone before I could be in a relationship. And I laughed at her. Afterall, what does she know? I know everything. I am the epitome of knowledge.

Well, I'm starting to think there might've been some truth to what she was saying.

Because I'm incredibly uncomfortable being alone. There are nights where I lay there on my bed and all I can hear is the ticking of my clock and I start thinking that there is nothing more to life than waking up going to work and coming home. On the other hand, there are nights where I lay on my couch in my pyjama's with a face mask, a glass of wine and a bowl of some dinner I slaved away at just for myself and I am at peace with the world. And I start thinking, this is the life. No-one to argue with or strive to impress. Just me and my slightly oily hair and the choice of whatever film I'm feeling in that moment.

Because there's no-one to say "I don't feel like watching that today".

But there are also nights where I haven't spoken a word to anyone all day and the sun is setting out of my apartment window and I think to myself "am I lonely?"

I suppose I am. I am a bit. I can admit that. But I'm also aware enough in this moment to know I would rather be alone right now.

Because I've been lonely before.

And it's easy enough to find something to fill that gap so that you don't have to address it. But it's worth addressing. Like Katrina Kenison said "solitude is the soul's holiday". And my little soul could do with a bit of a break.

So I'm trying to do more things on my own. To rely on myself a little bit more. To stop checking my phone to see if someone is offering an activity to fill my time. I've been finding things to do. I take coco on long walks and listen to podcasts. I go to the cinema alone and watch cheap movies from the superior seats up the back and in the middle. I go on short hikes out the back of Canberra. I go to the gym and push myself a little harder each time.

I've been running a lot, the most solitary sport there is. I've been writing a little more, listening to music while I cook and getting coffees out on weekends to drink in little cafes near my house.

And I think it's starting to feel like healing.

Like acceptance. Or freedom or one of those things. I like looking in the mirror and reminding myself that I'm the only one who's going to be there from day one to my last and that's a comforting thought, not one to scare me.

I've been planning my trip. Writing down all the places I want to see, where I might stay and what new foods I should try and eat. It's getting closer this trip, each week that passes brings both a touch more anxiety and takes a slight weight off my shoulders. Because I'm actually doing it. And it feels like all this time I've been preparing myself to be alone out there in the world.

I'm a very giving person. I will offer up a lot of myself to my friends and partners in order to make them happy. For the first time I feel like I'm giving a bit of that love back to myself and lord knows she could do with a bit of love.

So this solitude isn't so bad after all. There are good days and bad days. But overall its worth it, a bit of a break. At some point in my life I may not have the opportunity to be alone in the way I am now. So I'm going to try and appreciate it for what it is.

We'll see where it gets me. Most likely, just another step along one of those paths although I never really planned for this. And maybe that's exactly the way its meant to be.

Till next time,

Rhi xx

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