Tuesday, February 14, 2012

The Song of Solitude

Whether by circumstance or disposition,
I have remained single thus far in my life.
I am 32 years old.

For a long time, I longed
for a companion. I thought a woman
was all that could save me.

But then I discovered that this was not the case.
I learned to be alone.
It has its joys and pains.

When you are on your own for a long time,
you have to become comfortable
with your own thoughts.

You learn, or develop,
the rhythms of your body and mind:
when to take a walk, to sleep, to eat,

when to read, to write,
to listen to music, to go out,
when to stay home.

The hours, the days, are yours
to spend…some hours with friends
and family, some alone.

You learn to treasure this aloneness,
this solitude. Beholden to no one,
you are the captain of your fate.

This can be a rare and wonderful gift.
Many people spend their lives
in a succession of obligations.

Alone, you are free. Free to be
with others as you are, an individual.
Free to escape into solitude.

You get to choose how to spend
your minutes, your hours.
You can choose to write all day.

Inevitably, loneliness will come.
That's what friends and family are for.
No man is an island, even a single man.

When you are young, you might
have a lot of sex, a lot of partners,
some meaningful to you, some not.

As you get older, you might
go weeks, months, years with no sex.
You will take doses of pornography.

You must try not to be too hard
on yourself. Your chief joy
is creation: art, writing, music.

And contribution. This is another
of your freedoms. You are free to devote
huge amounts of time to giving.

Not money, not necessarily,
but creative action. You can get home
from work and spend 4 hours painting.

You get to do things like this.
People might ask, "Where do you find the time?"
and the question will seem silly.

You have loads of time!
This is your life!
You have hours and hours to spend!

You will sometimes wonder about
romantic love. You will be hard-pressed
to find good and inspiring examples.

In the relationships you witness,
the ones you read about or see in movies,
you will be generally unimpressed.

This can be a comfort in your solitude.
But still you will wonder
if you are missing something important.

Experience will teach you
not to settle, to wait,
perhaps for a very long time.

When you are young,
this waiting will be a deep sorrow.
As you get older, you will be okay.

You will fill your heart
with other kinds of love:
teaching, community, making things.

The word, the idea of "community"
will become important to you.
People together. Weird and awesome.

People will become your "thing."
Knowing, understanding, loving, sharing,
even in your solitude.

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