On Solitude

“A wonderful fact to reflect upon, that every human creature is constituted to be that profound secret and mystery to every other”
A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens

I dream of living on a mountain.

Ever since I went on Mount Hamilton to visit the Lick Observatory, I knew that I would spend many days on a mountain, alone. Looking at the world through a distant vantage point makes me feel as if my problems and everyone else’s problems don’t matter. Distance allows me to let go and appreciate. The stars are prominent, and I feel a profound awareness of the self and the surrounding universe.

It bugs me that society often associates solitude with loneliness. Being alone should be celebrated. Only through solitude — through peering into the depths of our soul, through dissecting our inner thoughts — can we begin to understand ourselves, and by extension, others. We say we value individuality and knowing who we are, but how can we ever truly know who we are without spending quality time with ourselves? And really, the worst type of loneliness isn’t being alone. It’s when you’re with people you can’t relate to, and you feel so out of place because you can’t enjoy yourself like everyone else seems to be.

There is a song I really like called “Nobody Knows Me At All” by The Weepies. I guess no one really knows me, because I don’t share all of my thoughts and feelings with anyone. I’m still trying to figure out who I am, let alone allow others to know who I am. I believe this is true with most people, and we’re all just alone. But the song is upbeat, because I think the songwriters understand that it’s okay if no one really knows who you are, because your soul is and will always be your beautiful secret. As long as you’re trying to understand who you are, and you like who you are, it doesn’t really matter if anyone else does.

It’s funny how we live in a world with 7 billion other people, and yet we still feel like no one can ever relate to what we’re feeling. But we’re never really alone with our feelings, thoughts, and even our actions. Somewhere, sometime, someone is doing what you’re doing right now. There might even be someone else thinking that at this exact second.

Life is full of contradictions; as alone as we are in our minds, as unified we are in our solitude.

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