Recently one of my oldest friends and I had a conversation that basically consisted around the words, “No woman is an island.” This is a statement I had written in half-jest to her in a letter. She had been spending a lot time alone doing things I envy like exploring her town, writing or cooking while listening to Prairie Home Companion. These are all things I can do too, but I have yet to work out the life balance I seek.
I had written those words because many of us seek solitude when the world isn’t what we want or when we don’t want the bullshit the world gives us every day. Or because there is beauty in solitude. There is comfort in being alone and doing only the things that you want to do. I am the kind of person who requires a lot of alone time. Normally I recharge when the hubby goes to Alaska but now I am having to learn how to get my time when he is here. It is a pleasant challenge.
When we are in solitude though, we lose our connection to the world. Yes, it may be necessary to find our center or calm but it doesn’t mean it is without consequence. Long periods of alone puts us out of touch. You might be reading the newspaper but you have forgotten human interaction. When you speak only to yourself you aren’t aware how harsh/abrupt/out of touch you come off. You forget the intricacies and delicacies of relationships.
Relationships give us perspective. It is difficult if not impossible for me to see different sides to an issue if I am passionate on a subject. That’s why I have friends. I have friends to shed light on ideas I may not have otherwise considered. One shows me the story of immigrants, another the story of addiction, yet another the story of being gay, and so I become educated. Yes, books, the radio, the TV can all educate me but nothing compares to a friendship with someone who doesn’t come from where you come from.
Friends are also the only people in our lives that we can count on to offer us the truth. So don’t discount the people you encounter. If they are cruel, learn what make them cruel and avoid it. If they are kind, surround yourself by their kindness and whatever makes them kind. Be better for it.
I’m just saying, no woman is an island.