Day 18: On solitude
On Thursday I went out and sat cross-legged in the sun, and it was the best thing I’ve done in a while. After a nasty cold I’d been cooped up indoors for most of the past week, and in between some work and errands, I plopped myself down under a tree while I was at Wits.
There’s something to be said about rediscovering small joys. So far, this has definitely been a Ramadan of that for me – I’ve devoured books after not reading for pleasure for too long, I’ve realised that I’m capable of doing a couple of things I’ve really forgotten about, and above all I have revelled in the bliss of solitude.
In my opinion, solitude is heavily underrated. The difference between loneliness and solitude: loneliness is having no one, solitude is having yourself. As clichÃ©d as it sounds, it’s so important to not neglect yourself, and this is something I have come to learn.
I’m really extroverted – I love to be out, I love socialising and meeting new people, and God knows I love to talk and talk to anyone who will listen. But at the same time, I relish having alone time. Sometimes it’s sitting alone in my room, sometimes it’s taking myself out for a day out, alone. I love to do my own thing, not have to give any explanations, not have to indulge in small talk; just do me and be happy, and have a dose of quiet time in this loud and messy world.
People don’t always understand the appeal of solitude. Sometimes it even becomes stigmatised – “Why do you willingly isolate yourself?”, “Shame does she not have any friends?” – which I think is only because they’ve been conditioned to think that being a loner is something that should have negative connotations. But one of the best parts about solitude, in my opinion, is the agency aspect: the fact that YOU get to CHOOSE to spend your time, however it is that you want to. And what better way to spend your time with the most important person in your life – yourself?
Thing is, if you become bitter about someone being happy to sit outside in the sun, or eat lunch out on their own, maybe that says something not-very-nice about you.
To sit outside and get a good dose of Vitamin D and fresh air brought a smile to my face and put a spring in my step once I got up. It really is the little things that Iâ€™m appreciating this month.
This is a special Ramadaan series by our fave Muslim reporter, Aaisha Dadi Patel. For Day 17’s musings, click here.