When I was in 6th grade my syllabus prescribed William Wordsworth’s poem The Solitary Reaper, a bright kid as I was (then), I learned it by heart and soul, and the meanings that my teacher told. (Ah! That rhymed. 😀 ) Years passed with that memory (I forgot some words though), the present me (not so bright) once again revisited the actual words that I’ve been humming wrong lately and tried to comprehend the meanings (again).
Well, what excited me here was the word ‘SOLITARY’. You might wonder why? Actually for a really long time in my teens, I used it interchangeably with ‘LONELINESS’. Yeah! we all did that at some point in life. But those words are miles apart! (Much farther than the Arctic & Antarctic)
There was a wise reason William chose to name it as ‘THE SOLITARY REAPER’ and not ‘THE LONELY REAPER’! Just think of it, had she been a lonely reaper all she could do was to cringe over the loneliness. (after all we as social animals are actually scared to be alone.) She would have stopped working in the fields and just sit in the middle of her crops and brood about things of minuscule importance like how her friend refused to come over, how her lover broke her heart, and zillion other things that you & I sulk about in this “social media” world where every aspect of one’s life has become an open book. Coming in terms with the modern day, there is so much going on online that there is hardly any of our-personal-time! I am in no way critical of all the social media services, but I am worried about the way we use them. Honestly, a year ago I was one of those throw your life to the world to see kind of person, posting anything ASAP it happened. I wanted company, I wanted more & more friends. But the more I went near people, the distant I grew to myself!
And so came the question of Solitude vs Loneliness. Loneliness is a negative emotion after all, as it is a deficient state. Nobody can fill in the vacuum in our lives but ourselves! No matter how social one is, one can also be lonely in the company of other people. Loneliness happens because we depend on others (and other things) for our happiness, for instance – If I fall in love I will be happy!, If I get this job I will be happy!, If I go to Paris I will be happy!, blah blah I will be happy. But does it works that way? Really?
Answer is a big NO.
The American Declaration of Independence mentions :
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
And true happiness can be attained only and only if one is aware of oneself. This is what I have learnt in the past year by being socially unavailable. Solitude is personal choice though, just like that reaper William saw on the fields. She was happy in her own company, singing to herself while enjoying the work she did. She was at peace with herself and nothing, not even the presence of passer-byes deter her from enjoying her own company. And that is why she was Solitary not Lonely.
It is very inspiring you see, how much can solitude do for you. You love your company knowing that you are sufficient for yourself and capable of keeping yourself happy (no materials or foreign emotions attached). And once in solitude creativity emerges, transcending limits and inhibitions that you put upon yourself.
So my dear, as I close door to my midnight thoughts I would want you to take a moment for yourself and not be lonely.