On solitude

2 minute read


I’ve been spending a lot of time alone on this road trip. Both on this trip and over the past few years, I’ve been thinking a lot about solitude, specifically with respect to not having a romantic partner. I’ve been surprised with what I’ve learned recently. In my mind, there’s four different flavors of being alone:

  1. Being alone, being not okay with it, and wishing you were with someone else. This is basically every high school girl who hasn’t been kissed yet, and also very much what society tells us every high school girl who hasn’t been kissed yet should be. In fact, this is the plot of the movie Never Been Kissed. Also, as awesome as the movie is, it’s the plot of Miss Congeniality. Or probably any rom com that you love.

  2. Being with someone else, and therefore satisfied and happy, but underneath it actually not being okay with being alone. I imagine this is many, if not most, people who are in generic relationships. (Yes, I’m judgmental. But it’s because I have “unreasonably” high standards for partnership.)

  3. Being alone and totally satisfied. This is what I’ve been working very hard to achieve for the past year or two, and what I was expecting to really solidify through this road trip. I do feel that I confirmed this level on the first part of my road trip, most notably drinking a beer and watching the sunset at Big Bend after having said no to hanging out with a fellow traveller. Also, deep and satisfying friendships are key to unlocking this level.

  4. Being with someone, and also totally satisfied alone. This is the surprise one, both because I didn’t realize it was possible and also because I didn’t expect to be with someone (in general or on this road trip). I’ve found myself truly deeply and fully enjoying the moments I’ve had and the things I’ve seen by myself on this trip, and also I’ve really missed the person I’m with – independently. I used to think that if you really liked someone and they weren’t with you on a trip, everything you saw or experienced would be colored with the thought of “I wish they were here.” What I didn’t realize was that it’s possible to divorce their not being there with my experience of the thing. One doesn’t have to color the other. Cool. :)