Like the Swedish-born screen legend Greta Garbo, who treasured single living, I too understand the need to spend some time alone.
“I vant to be alone.” No, that’s not a typo. It’s the way Swedish-born film legend Greta Garbo supposedly pronounced her trademark quote. Although some say the reclusive actress may have taken it to the extreme with her need for solitude, Garbo, who never married, had many friends and was known for her warmth, charm and wit.
I can totally appreciate her desire to spend time with friends, but also her need for alone time. In fact, it’s an absolute necessity for my singular sanity.
Ten years ago, when I went back to college after being laid-off from my “glamorous” dotcom job, I started a parrot care business to pay the bills. One of my clients was a married couple who were within eyesight of each other constantly. How they manage to do that, I have no idea because I would go crazy if I didn’t have my alone time — that time when it’s just me in my private space — usually just before dawn, while most of Los Angeles is still sleeping.
It’s a precious time when I can get my cup of tea without bumping into anyone, or having to be civil, or answer any questions. I can sit in my favorite chair and quietly enjoy the stillness of my thoughts, write in my journal, meditate and become centered before I start another crazy day.
I have an artist friend who calls her alone time her “bubble.” It’s a time when she can clearly hear her inner self and feel a connection to the heartbeat of the creative force that lives inside of us all – if we can find the time and the space to listen.
Now, I don’t always get to have my alone time and I don’t even always want it – but one thing for sure, if I’m deprived of it for too long the results aren’t pretty.
It might be one of the reasons why I so treasure being single and maybe it’s a trait we singulars share. We understand the difference between being alone and being lonely. And we know that some things, like our alone time, cannot be shared and that allowing ourselves time to experience it makes it possible to share our lives more fully.