In many regards, my life has been solitary. I was a single mom from the moment of my daughter’s conception. I’ve owned my own law practice for more than twenty years, and except for the people who work for me, I’m the only attorney in my jurisdiction who does what I do. I mostly have my house to myself, and more often than not, when I travel, I travel alone.
Even if I’m touring in the UK with a group, I’m usually sitting by myself for much of the day, walking by myself, and rooming by myself. I’m happy this way. While I enjoy most people, being around others drains me of energy, which is simply the definition of an introvert. Solitude recharges me.
One of the by-products of this much self-determination is that when I get down or daunted, there’s nobody on hand to cheer me up, or even to distract me by throwing a bigger pout than I have going. (My siblings are married, you’ll recall.) If I get stuck in a ditch, I have to tow myself out. I know this is true of many people who live in full houses, too.
I expect those same people share with me a willingness to look for silver linings. After I’ve groused and grumbled and shaken my fist at the sky, I often come around to seeing if not a bright side, then a constructive side.
As I write this, the old winter storm is raging. I keep a three-gallon bucket of water on the living room hearth for the dogs. When I got up this morning, that water had a crust of ice on it, and because the cat door had blown open, snow was collecting on my carpet. I’d let the wood stove go out to conserve wood, and thus I could see my breath in the living room.
Lovely! First cheering thought: I can use this in a book! Imagine how typical this would have been in days of yore, when somebody might have forgotten to bank the coals, or the bedrooms were closed off from lit fires to keep the rest of the house warm.
Second cheering thought: When it’s winter storming, we stay home, and thus spread fewer pathogens, and this cold snap will do wonders to keep the bug populations in check–we all know about me and bugs, right?
Third cheering thought: Not like I ever want to do anything but stay home and write anyway!
Fourth cheering thought: Perfect day to send all that cardboard I’ve been saving for kindling up the old chimney. Take the chill off in a hurry and reduce landfill waste.
Fifth cheering thought: It’s a potpourri day, for sure. I’ll toss some of that essential oil of lavender into the steamer pot. Love me some lavender.
I could go on, but that’s enough to provide a sense of my internal patter. The less I’m on social media hearing other people rant, the more I’m Winnie-the-Poohing my way through life’s little ups and downs, the happier I am.
When you land in a ditch, how do you get out? Friends? Family? Time alone? A little of all three? Music? Books? Flowers? To one commenter, I’ll send Neil Oliver’s “History of Scotland.” (Because Scotland knows a few things about climbing out of ditches.)