I learnt this the hard way – at 23 I thought I was facing loneliness when I took over this farm – in fact it was ‘aloneness’ I was facing.
Confidence to be alone in the crowd and not panic. Confidence to be physically alone and to engage with solitude. Confidence to move through life ‘doing your own thing’ whilst avoiding ‘selfish self absorption’ is trickier as we seem intrinsically as a species to favour crowds, togetherness and families – I guess because it is indicative of survival of the species often the worst thing in the world seems to be getting the label of ‘loner’.
It is a cliche but we ARE all alone – but in my experience we will all rather call it loneliness and often blame ourselves or our situation for it…
My experience of being situationally alone on this farm a great deal has shown me that to get the most out of being alone you need to make the effort to find out why you are there – ‘lonely’ misery can make you forget – and why you are there – after all we rarely have to be anywhere but for choosing to stay – and if we choose to stay we do so because we get something out of our situation either positively or passively.
These are often hard thoughts to have with yourself.
I embraced being alone here on the farm many years ago now – in fact I struggle now I am not alone – what I wasn’t expecting – was to feel occupationally alone. In my case these two thoughts are linked – one way I dealt with being physically alone was to write first journals of the farm and then stories and now novels and blogs.
Now that my mum lives here and my husband is not away so often I am rarely physically alone – and I freely admit it is hard sometimes and I resort to headphones and closing the doors – what is challenging that in farming I am surrounded by farming neighbours but in writing that isn’t the case so although I haven’t physically moved I am once more alone.
I feel occupationally alone – so I have had to ask my self why am I HERE doing this? Why? I had to remind my self – and keep on doing so – of the interconnectedness of the two – from the one came the other…
I learned to reach out and join in on line – I have not yet found a writing group in my area close enough that I could join – but I remain open to that possibility – I use Write Words who are a brilliant bunch of writers for support and mutual critique and I use Holly Lisle for training, course work and ongoing support. I use Michael Hyatt’s Platform U as he is so technically interesting and incredibly generous with his time and free stuff, Darren Rowse and Jeff Goins ditto re blogging, periscoping and all that jazz – I still have to face the day as the only writer in the household and I have found Brendon Brushard’s free material very helpful to remind me ‘it isn’t what I do it is how I show up’.
The point is that none of this found me – in dealing with being physically alone I had to get to a place where I engaged with it – and sometimes lean over the hedge to chat to the neighbour and ask for help – or offer it – and in being occupationally alone I have to go out on line and find like minded folk who help and continue to inspire me.
None of this makes me a better person and easier to live with – it isn’t a personality transplant – but it does give me some kind of chance of seeing my creative dreams through to fruition so I don’t become the sole survivor of my own good idea – which would be lonely.
So square peg round hole?
Why are you doing this? What are you getting out of it? If you don’t like the answer – do something else.