I enjoy my daily breaks at work, as do most people that I know. We all need a change of pace, a chance to get up and stretch and get a bit of excercise, some nourishment, and take care of other personal needs. Today while on my break I conciously realized that one of the things I enjoy most about my break is that I have 30 minutes of time for myself. Solitude. I can go for a walk by myself or find a quiet corner to eat my lunch and think, maybe close my eyes for a few minutes, run an errand or two on campus, or even send a quick text to a child or two. I work in an open area with anywhere from 3 to 5 co-workers in close proximity. In busy times we are constantly on the phone or helping walk-ins with problems. During slower times we can and do take some time to chat or visit a bit while we do our work. I enjoy my co-workers and consider them to be my friends. But . . . I also enjoy my solitude.
I have always enjoyed my solitude. In a fairly small house bustling with parents and siblings it was sometimes difficult to find. It was heaven to be able to go outside to a tree house, a playhouse, a hayloft, or even to find a perch on the woodpile or up in the willow tree where I could be alone with my thoughts or a book. During the winter time it was a bit more difficult, but I did learn to find some solitude for myself with my nose in a book even if there was much else going on around me. As I grew older I also found that I would rather walk home from school than ride the bus on most days. I enjoyed the solitude of the nearly mile walk from the school along the country road to my home. Even in the winter it was usually preferable to a long ride on a crowded bus.
At college I mostly enjoyed losing myself amongst the crowd. I enjoyed time with my roommates and other friends, but I also enjoyed the day going by myself from class to class to work, grabbing a quick lunch, all by myself on most days.
It was more difficult as a young mother to find the solitude. A few minutes alone in the bathroom. Or grabbing a few minutes to read in my room while the kids played together. Or an hour or so of TV or reading after they had gone to bed. I think that most of my children have this love of solitude too; some need more alone time than others. Perhaps most people need it. Maybe some people don't recognize this need. Time to reflect. Time to study. Time to pray. Time to listen for answers. Solitude, in my opinon, is one of those ingredients necessary to a happy life.