I grew up in a country where people are always in groups wherever we go. We rarely travel solo, or watch movies alone or eat alone in a restaurant. It was just how we were brought up – collectivists! Whenever we saw foreigners travelling alone in our country, we thought of them as creepy weird people. I remember one of my friends said “That’s why there are a lot of depression and suicide in that part of the world, they are always alone.”
However, I was always fascinated with the people who seem to be just happy with themselves, because I couldn’t do it! I was always the kind of person who needed companion. Simply put, I was bored of my own company. I wondered why.
I recently read a book by Cal Newport called “Digital Minimalism” where it talks about the dangers of social media in our daily lives. I am not including it here to talk about that, rather my favourite chapter in the book about solitude. One of the quotes that made a huge impact on me was…
All of humanity’s problems stem from inability to sit quietly in a room alone.Blaise Pascal
I reflected and pondered upon this quote whilst I was trying to practice my solitude in Cornwall. I have always known how to be independent, and yet I did not feel free. My soul was in constant turmoil and anxiety. When I read this quote, I suddenly realised, maybe that’s why I was in constant turmoil, I did not know how to listen to myself and just be happy with myself.
Conversation enriches the understanding, but solitude is the school of genius.Edward Gibbon, 1988
In the book, it says that solitude is a subjective state of mind free from input from other minds. In other words, you can enjoy solitude in a crowded city so long as your mind is left to grapple only with its own thoughts. Listening to what your body wants and needs without the influence from another individual is solitude at its finest. With solitude, you can be more creative and productive as we become free of conformist constraints, thus it is the school of genius.
With solitude, I learned how to value myself and my own time. I learned that I deserve more and that I have to respect the boundaries that I have set for myself. If I cannot do the things I need to do on my own, then what more with a partner?
I read from Matthew Hussey’s facebook post once, that just like seasons, being single has its own beauties and problems. You need to learn to appreciate the beauty and benefits it bring in your life.
Whenever I browse my news feeds on facebook, I see snippets of people’s lives, and while some of them are happy with the family that they have built, I found that a lot of them are not because they were not ready for that kind of responsibility. They were not with the right person to build it with.
Being Emotionally, Spiritually and Mentally Free
I used to get really jealous and bothered when I see partners walking while holding hands and kissing, or strolling around the beach with their beautiful families. When I went to Cornwall, I was surprised of myself that I was happy to see them together, no bitterness, no sadness in me – there was peace and reflective realisation that this is a season of my life that I get to be just on my own – free of responsibility and stress! Why am I even stressing myself out just because people define my timeline? I got my own timeline and I would never let other people draw it for me.
Being emotionally, mentally and spiritually free means to have that peace in your heart, mind and soul. I never knew what it meant until this year. I had so much baggage in the past that I had to let go of. I reflected on my life and it was mostly because I did not know how to forgive people that have hurt me in the past. I realised that these three things (emotional, mental and spiritual peace) come hand in hand. Because I want to practice my spirituality more, it has made me become a better person. I have forgiven people not because they said sorry, but because I know I deserve peace- that is emotional freedom. Being able to wish them good luck in their lives despite what happened in the past is strength.
I used to blame myself for being hurt and taken advantage of, but I have learned that these people hurt me not because of who I am but because of who they are. The more I reflect alone, the more I could easily detach myself from negative situations that I encounter in my daily life. I simply learned how to CHILL! LOL!
If it destroys the peace of your heart, give it up!Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him.
Having that Time and Financial Freedom
I am not rich. I am just an average nurse living in England- but I AM SINGLE! THANK GOD! When I was in the Philippines, I did not have the time and money to travel solo, buy things that I want or have the extra time to do my passion. Now I have all the time in the world to do things that matter in my life as a single woman. I can easily book myself a nice affordable hotel, hop on a train to travel to a faraway land with nice beaches because I decided that I wanted a break- away from all the stress! All these and I still have my savings for my future mortgage (when the right person comes into my life to do it with) and money to pay a little property I am buying in the Philippines. Gone are my days when I had to count how much money will be left in my account if I buy this, or that. As long as I work the extra hours for my extracurriculars, I will be fine! Imagine if I have a family – it would be difficult to achieve these!
Now is the time to do everything that matters to me, like furthering my career, learning new skills, gathering experiences and meeting people that will enrich my understanding of myself and the world around me. I know that this is only a season of my life that I have to enjoy- it’s not here to stay so make the most out of it! I would rather be alone than to build a family with the wrong one. When that next season is finally here, I know I will be ready!
See you in the future, soulmate – wherever you are right now. 😉