When Your Solitude is Stolen

Photo by Noah Silliman

It has been a bit since I posted.

There are two main reasons for this absence.

First, the world has a serious crisis right now. This COVID-19 situation has a lot of us living a different life.

The second reason for my writing absence: my house has a crisis now too. Everyone is home all day. ALL DAY.

Now, I love quiet calm days at home with no obligations. The peace and solitude of an empty schedule can be refreshing.

But right now this “quiet” is more like isolation, not solitude.

What is the difference?

To me, solitude is an intentional choice to be in the quiet with our thoughts.

Isolation is a forced quiet. The brakes were slammed for us, and we feel a loss of control and a loss of calm.

Essentially we feel like our solitude was stolen.

So what can we do?

Normally I would retreat to my room, lock the door, and just close my eyes and breathe for 5 minutes. This would give me some quick solitude.

But now our room is a home office, so that retreat is gone.

Normally I would take the kids to the park and I would read or write while they play.

Normally we would have play dates in this beautiful weather and start swim lessons.

However, all of this “normally” is temporarily gone.

But it will be okay.

So here are a few ways I am trying to reclaim my solitude among this crazy new normal:

1. Admit solitude is different, not lost forever

Last week I got completely overwhelmed.

I started thinking in absolutes (I will NEVER get my time back).

I realized I needed to admit that “my time” would be different. Solitude is not lost forever. This is temporary.

2. Ask for solitude

With more people at home together, I have to be direct about what I need. I have to ask for what I need.

My family cannot read my mind, and it is not fair to blowup on them because I didn’t ask for what I needed.

Be honest with the people around you and take the time you need.

3. Be Present in the Solitude you get

Once you ask for solitude and receive it, don’t forget to be present in it.

Sometimes when we finally get what we want, we forget to enjoy it.

Breathe and enjoy the intentional quiet.


I do not know how long this will last.

That uncertainty can make us uneasy.

But we can try to find some solitude among the isolation, and some peace among the noise.

Wishing health and peace to all of you!

-Brittany

4 comments

  1. I would like to suggest that you make a gratitude list every time you start feeling overwhelmed. You GET to have time with your kids that normally you don’t have.You GET to stay in your pj’s all day! You GET to have picnics on the family room floor. You GET to explore new hobbies. I believe in being grateful and using the word GET To instead of HAVE To makes a world of difference. God bless.

    Like

    • Ann,
      I agree with you! It helps a lot to switch to a grateful mindset. We are definitely enjoying the extra time and slower pace. It feels like we get so much more of our day back with everyone home. No commutes, no bus schedule, etc. We still need to make sure to take individual time for ourselves, but definitely grateful for the new opportunities presented by all of this!

      Thank you for reading!
      Brittany

      Like

  2. This post resonates so much, thank you! It is one of the more challenging parts to this time, partly because the shift to the near absence of solitude was so sudden. Your tips are great reminders to keep on hand.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Brittany, this post resonated loud and clear for me – this has been one of the most challenging things about this time, in part because the shift to lack of solitude was so sudden. There is much to be grateful for and much to learn from this time, and the thoughtful reminders in your post help a lot. Thank you!
    Peggy

    Liked by 1 person

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