Flying solo

The moon is nowhere almost time for the sun
The voice of the waves sound anciently young
I'm a prisoner of freedom, ten toes in the sand
And man, I wish I had a hand to hold
I'm in the habit of being alone
I try hard to break it, I can't on my own
I'm glad no one's here, just me by the sea
I'm glad no one's here to mess it up for me
I'm glad no one's here, just me by the sea
And man, I wish I had a hand to hold
~ "Me by the Sea" by Edie Brickell and New Bohemians

I sometimes think I am a little too comfortable being alone. I have no problem spending a day, an evening, even a week on my own. Of course you are never quite alone unless you are off in the wilderness somewhere, but I am at ease when no one I know is around.

It has always felt like a sign of personal strength to be so independent. Not needing to have someone at your side when you eat out or go to a movie. To be alone without being lonely. I am glad that I have never been so dependent on someone that I couldn't function without them, but at times it doesn't feel like a strength. To be so comfortable on your own, it is too easy to avoid the risk of meeting someone new. To avoid reaching out and expanding your world. To avoid committing yourself and feeling vulnerable.

My heart has always had a soft spot for the song "Me by the Sea". I thought about it again when I was on my trip to the Grand Canyon last summer. On the one hand, I was glad to be able to go where I wanted, and spend as much time as I wanted without worrying whether someone else was bored. I could have a singular experience with no one "messing it up for me". But I also missed having someone there to share it with. A hand to hold.

I am glad to be self-sufficient, and comfortable with my own company. But we are social animals, and I think if that side of our being is not nurtured in some way, then we are not completely who we should be. And the longer we spend alone, the easier it seems to just stay that way.

Sometimes it is easier to be alone, but it is not always better.


A friend posted a question on Facebook yesterday - "Wondering if it's possible to not need anyone without feeling lonely..."

My response was - "It is. Need is the key word. Once it is no longer a 'need', loneliness is no longer an issue. To be alone without being lonely is a strength, and it makes everyone's company and support that much more of a blessing."

As I re-read my response, it jibes with what this post (written last year but set aside unfinished), but it also seems to be incomplete. I think there is something to be said for 'needing' someone that I've never experienced completely. It seems there is fine line between dependence and independence where we find the greatest strength.

All of this also reminded me of this video I found a while back, but also never posted. Quite lovely.