Two years ago, with two small children in tow, I moved across the country to a place we now call home.
At the airport, in the wee hours, the sun had not yet risen, but was playing hide-and-seek with the dark amber of the sky. By the time I rolled my big suitcases in, with my children holding hands, I could see the beautiful orange glow appearing on the horizon.
Time was calling the sun to come out, and calling me to move on.
I was leaving behind the life I had built with my spouse, now to be known as the ex. I checked my luggage in while holding onto the little hands of my son, wondering at the same time where to check the emotional baggage I was carrying inside me. There was no turning back, and I was ready to fly—and so I did.
I proceeded to the boarding gate to take the one-way flight to a new life, freedom, and adventures to follow.
Fast forward two years, and it is the anniversary of me moving to a beautiful community, with neighbors and a home that became more of a sanctuary for my children and me.
It is also the anniversary of my divorce.
I have an appointment to get my hair done that I keep postponing. Today, I must go or else my hair will be out of control. And I like conversing with my hairstylist; she is humorous and refreshingly open-minded. Her uncanny way of laying out the truth about the toughest of subjects is something I find endearing. I always end up gaining words of wisdom along with a great haircut.
This time, she asked me, meditatively, while washing my hair, “Meet anyone yet?” I laughed and replied, “Why would I spoil the good thing I got going?”
She laughed with me and replied, “I challenge you to post a picture of a cake with two years on it and give me 10 reasons why you like solitude.”
“You are on,” I replied.
I bought a small cake, went home, and put together my list of 10 reasons, and posted it on my Facebook and Instagram accounts.
At this time, a thought that was planted in my mind two years back began taking root: we should celebrate life. Divorce is still seen by many as a failure of not only marriage, but failure at an individual level. I want to change that. No one gets into marriage thinking about divorce, but if it happens, it is not a failure. It is a sign of emotional maturity, a sign that we were looking out for ourselves and were able to muster the strength to let go of what was not serving us anymore.
Ultimately, it is about how we feel inside. Our life is our responsibility—no one else’s—and the only commitment that should matter is the one toward ourselves, as people and as parents.
The cake I bought is small and has “Two Years” written on it in blue—my son’s favorite color. The pure joy of living, of building my life with my children, of being myself and following my passions, of processing the pain of the past and finally letting go of it, of releasing material losses, of recognizing and accepting that “Aham Prem” (I am the Love), deserves a celebratory cake.
“I wish I could tell you it gets better. It doesn’t get better. You get better.” ~ Joan Rivers
Life is short, or long, depending on how we live it. Recognize that at times life will feel f*cked up, the universe or your higher power will play practical jokes on you, but a lotus only blooms in the mud. If we are in a joyous state of living, 100 years can feel short. But the idea that we need a companion in order to feel that joy, that we need someone to make us feel whole again, is plain rubbish.
For now, I am enjoying—and celebrating—my solitude. And these are the 10 reasons why we all should:
1. Being alone is an opportunity to reflect, learn, grow, and transform, both spiritually and worldly.
2. Learning to be comfortable with solitude means there is nothing left to prove and we don’t need to please anyone.
3. When we can walk this earth like a queen (or king), we begin to own every aspect of ourselves, releasing our expectations of others.
4. If we choose to let someone into our lives, it will be someone who has proven themselves worthy, which can be a good thing in the long run.
5. Solitude reignites our passions, and helps us discover the hidden ones that have been buried; it gets the creative juices flowing.
6. We now have the time to think, rethink, and set up boundaries like the Great Wall of China.
7. Cultivating a love affair with ourselves means we learn to accept ourselves, with all our imperfections.
8. Being alone helps us eliminate need-based relationships.
9. When we take time for ourselves, we better understand what love means and what a loving relationship should feel like.
10. There’s finally time to dance like crazy, sing like crazy, and do what makes our soul happy.
Solitude can be empowering, enriching, and transformative. But it is different from being lonely. While solitude is blissful and self-sufficient, loneliness stems from seeking validation from those around us.
Whether we’re ready or not, we should all try to enjoy our own company first before we long to be in another’s. I’m doing just that—and it’s not bad at all.