“Blessed are those who do not fear solitude, who are not afraid of their own company, who are not always desperately looking for something to do, something to amuse themselves with, something to judge.” – Paulo Coelho
Have you ever been in a situation where someone spoke in a fit of irritation while warring against themselves only they thought they were warring against you? It’s not the best seat in the house when this happens, so I’ve learned.
I thought in all my introverted-ness, that it would be a great idea to open up my fun-filled staycation. I still believe it was a great idea and I had the patience for the both of us, thank God. Is this just an introverted thing where people believe that our solitude is boring? Is it so wrong, to not plan out the day from the time you open your eyes, until the time you find yourself drifting off to sleep? Do I have to be the only one biting my tongue because you think my need to be alone is a direct attack on you? Should I have to explain every other hour that yes, I am having a great time to console you? When I say that I am happy reading or simply listening to music, why do you feel that it’s all made up to make you feel good? How many times do I have to tell you that I am not bored, or depressed?
I have heard this through-out my life from various people. Now, I just have it tagged in memory as “Things that non-introverts think & say collection” for reference, just in case I need it. I know that my need for solitude is part of my make-up and I don’t make excuses about it, anymore. I used to constantly check-in to make other people feel comfortable with my need to be alone, I didn’t want to offend, I used to say to myself. When the idea struck me recently to go to the beach and just enjoy the sound of the ocean and the movement of the waves, I made arrangements. No itinerary, just me and the ocean.
Feeling guilty for hogging this beautiful day all to myself, I shared my plans with a friend. Of course, he wanted to go and I wanted him to go to. I gave him all the details: Just me & you & the ocean. Now, I had no idea that he would take “me, you, ocean” and spin that into this huge plan to conquer the ocean by Sunday, but he did!
The short version of Saturday en-route to the beach: He complained, about everything! What is everything?
- The time we left for the beach.
- The route we were taking to the beach.
- His confusion about why I hadn’t printed out my hotel confirmation.
- The GPS.
- My not knowing when the last time the GPS was updated.
- Why I was siding with my GPS and not his phone’s GPS.
- The 5 minute difference between the GPS systems.
- The phone charger.
- The heat.
- The fact that it was winter and I wanted to go to the beach.
- The Bluetooth connection.
- The hotel.
- The possibility of not being able to go to the pool.
On and on and on.
I smiled and I focused on the road. I swear I did not say any bad words. I just did what I mentioned above and pulled out my reference material from my past and reminded myself that it’s not “normal” to be content alone. It’s also one thing to hear someone say, “Let’s go to the beach and do nothing! Yay, it’s going to be great.” BUT it’s quite another to actually go and enjoy doing nothing. I get it. So, I smiled and I focused on the road. I thought, he is so scared to be alone, doing nothing. When I say doing nothing, those are his words, not mine.
So, when midnight came and all the complaining ended complete with a kiss and wait for it a Thank you, yes, you heard me, for all of his complaining he said, with a kiss, “Thank you.” Man, I was so confused. So, I had to repeat it to myself Thank you? He smiled to his little complainer’s hearts content and I asked, “For what?” I could tell he was so thrown off, so I continued, “I love you and don’t say thank you when you spent 5 hours complaining. You don’t mean it and you’re not happy and guess what, it’s ok.”
I mean that because it is not easy to be still, mind, body and soul, all at the same time. I may be far reaching to say this but I believe that a lot of people don’t enjoy their own company. He maybe one of those people. It’s ok, really. Here is the thing, if he is one of those people, I hope that he learns that about himself and either decide whether he is willing to change that or if he is OK with it. My take is that it looked like fear. Smelled like fear and it had a very loud bark, just like fear. I recognize fear and it reminds of what I use to hear from people in my neighborhood growing up about stray dogs. Don’t look them in the eye. Don’t make any sudden moves. They will try to provoke you but don’t budge and they will settle down. So that’s what I did and on Sunday I picked him up to walk the beach that morning, and his internal war was won.
I held onto my belief that I shouldn’t have to make excuses for who I am. I am ok with no plans, being the plan. I won’t make excuses for showing myself love by taking time out to enjoy solitude whether it’s for 5 minutes, an hour, or an overnight stay at the beach in the dead of winter.
I won’t be dragged into a war that isn’t mine to being with, or at least not anymore. That was the old me, so quick to get tricked into war that people declared on themselves that they projected on me. Now, like on Saturday, I just sit back and focus on whipping my ego into shape. Apparently, the Universe was offering Ego Management 101 courses and I was a perfect candidate.
Here is my take away from Ego Management 101, complete with pictures.
Don’t be so quick to suit up for a war that isn’t yours to being with. Assess the situation and determine whose war it is. If you are able to separate troops from civilians and determine your status, then your outcomes will be joyous.