Let there be spaces in your togetherness, And let the winds of the heavens dance between you – Kahlil Gibran On Marriage in The Prophet

Occasionally, when I mention how long my wife and I have been together (over fifty years), someone asks, What is your secret?  The answer of course, is that there is no secret, except perhaps that the best of relationships take commitment and work.  I suppose that doesn’t qualify as a secret either because it’s mentioned in virtually every self-help book ever written on the fine art of marriage.   There are, however, many factors that contributed to our long run together and one of those is that we both need time alone and, because we both need our Solitude, we are both willing to give it to each other.  Oh, it’s not perfect.   If one of us is feeling needy or just in need of company and the other there can be hurt feelings or reluctant compromises, but what marriage doesn’t have those?  In our Solitude, we pursue interests of our own, some which require uninterrupted contemplation, and we consider with the perspective that only solitude can bring the decisions to made in our life.   It probably sounds enigmatic, but I believe that in part the divisiveness and misunderstanding that plagues our society these days stems in part from too little time spent alone in quiet contemplation and the lack of self-knowledge that results from continual engagement with others.

If you were able to peek into our home most evenings, you would likely find my wife, Muri, upstairs on the love seat in our bedroom.  Her iPad or a book is likely to be on her lap and the television is likely tuned to a television drama like Bluebloods or a situation comedy like The Big Bang Theory.  Older Eyes hates Big Bang Theory.  Downstairs, on his recliner, Older Eyes likely has his tablet or laptop on his lap and if the TV is on, it’s sports or old movies.  If the TV is off, there’s a good chance he’s listening to music, either on headphones or his Amazon Echo, which sits on the table beside him with Alexa waiting to play whatever her requests.  It’s probably smooth jazz.  Muri dislikes jazz and old movies, rerun again and again. There is a good chance Muri is reading while she half-watches her shows and I am probably writing, maybe a post for Older Eyes – Bud’s Blog or my new blog, Both Sides Now … or I could be emailing a friend or posting something on Facebook.  As we’ve gotten older, we like our solitude in close proximity so we can check in on each other.   Muri will wander by my recliner on her way to the kitchen, glance at the TV and give me her Are-you-watching-that-again look.   Or I’ll go to bedroom to find the flash drive I use for bits of writing with no current home, and say, Are you watching Big Bang Theory again?  I hate that show.  Sometimes, we text each other from our respective enclaves, just hearts or love you.

Yeah, I know.  The love songs of our youth said things like,

Wouldn’t it be nice if we could wake up
In the morning when the day is new
And after having spent the day together
Hold each other close the whole night through
(Beach Boys – Wouldn’t It Be Nice)

But after fifty years together, this works just fine,

I want to spend my life with you,
Except for the hours eight to ten.
And I want you by my side always,
Or at least you in the bedroom and me in the den.
(Older Eyes – Isn’t It Nice)

The Beach Boys weren’t able to keep their group together for fifty years, never mind their marriages.  So, who are you going to listen to?

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One Comment on “Solitude”

  1. rita altman Says:

    love, strength, and a feeling of being together whether next to each other or on different floors of your home

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