“She tolerates aloneness well”
-Miss Mardle, Form Teacher, 5M, 1981
A long remembered line in my last school report, at my old high school before it closed, and I set off to a much bigger school the following year. I thought I understood what she meant, but it wouldn’t be until almost 40 years later, that the full significance and strength was revealed..
Not in the “cool gang” by any means, I wasn’t a loner at high school; I was nerdy, awkward, bookish, but I had a few really close friends, and so was saved high school loneliness.. but I was self-contained, and could amuse myself, with books, drawing and just thinking. I’m sure she saw that quality and that’s what she meant.
I’ve was lucky enough to have had an early insight into the joy that is virtual connection, when my, now, sister in law, came to live and work here on a part time basis, 15 years ago.. Quickly friends, the part of the week she spent in Christchurch we would text endlessly.. and would spend Tuesday Nights “watching” Boston Legal together from our respective couches, texting the whole way through.. Virtual rugby followed and now we even occasionally text each other from the other side of the same room…
In recent years I’ve added to my virtual friendships – either keeping in regular touch with out of town old friends, or, more recently, some new friends that only exist via the internet. My recent joy has been to find kindred spirits in New York, Bristol, Michigan, London, Kentucky, Scotland and even a newly found distant cousin in Dubai! Connections made, stories shared, laughs to be had, books to be recommended..
And so, now most of us find ourselves in lockdown/quarantine, in a “bubble” with the people we share a house with. Anecdotally some people are finding it really hard. The isolation, the boredom, spending much more time with their housemates than they are used to. But, I’m quite liking it, if I’m being honest. Of course, there are things I miss, and as an over-feeder the virtual grocery shopping has been an absolute nightmare; but I’ve managed to find my groove there. My housemates by and large are managing; some would say as gamers, they have spent their entire lives rehearsing for this! Lol..
But I am relishing the time it’s given me… and the space to think my thoughts.. I feel like the whole world is taking a breath; and recent times have taught me that pausing, taking a breath, and thinking are important for your mental health. But I’m not naïve, this lockdown comes at a massive cost, and am hoping that governments everywhere are also preparing to invest in the Mental Health care that will be needed in the months and years to come….
But, just for now, I am living in the moment. Writing a lot, not necessarily for publication. Planning things for the future. Finding new outlets for my creativity.. My daily walks on the beach, where it’s just me, earbuds and nature, most days, not even answering messages, are a luxury I haven’t had in years. And I’ve added watching the sun go down of an evening from our balcony, having a cuppa, just quietly assessing the day, to my routine.. Its been nice to just spend time with Me. I find, I am still self sufficient in finding ways to keep myself busy, entertained and relaxed.
And I’ve spent a lot of time expanding my virtual connections with whanau and friends. Texting, Messaging, DMs and of course learning to be cool with video chatting.. Virtually, expanding the walls of my “Bubble”, and seeing bits of the world, I would never have seen before… I never feel alone, or lonely..
So, like my gaming Housemates, my ability to “Tolerate Aloneness” has served me well…
Thank you for dropping by, I hope your days are full, and you’re finding ways to fill your time. Please stay safe, take care… xxx