I search for the spaces - I check my diary looking for the chinks of light. The moments I can have all to myself, to sit with my thoughts and pay attention to my inner dialogue. I refer to myself as a sociable recluse - I love being with people and having lots of regular plans to spend time with others, but I am hard-wired to sit in solitude. This is my natural state and in these moments of quiet contemplation, I feel a sense of bliss.
Looking back I think this stems from being a very ill child. When I was four years old, I spent most of the year in an oxygen tent due to suffering from chronic asthma. This was 1975 - I remember it being hot and stuffy inside the oxygen tent - I was so frustrated and restless. But within that experience I started to go deep into my imagination to while away the days. A vibrant world of endless possibilities. Transporting myself out of the hospital and into a world of immense fantasy.
To be able to do this has been an incredibly useful skill in my life to draw on and help me cope when life gets a bit challenging. A safe place I can visit momentarily to distract myself from reality - gently dropping back into my ‘real life’ when I’ve had a bit of a rest from it.
Blaise Pascal said:
‘All of humanity’s problems stem from man’s inability to sit quietly in a room alone’.
I’ve also heard it said that ‘if you’re lonely when you’re alone, you’re in bad company.’
Throughout my life I’ve met many people who are obviously terrified of spending any time in their own company. I wonder what it is they’re scared of. So they plan ahead and book themselves out six months in advance. It’s hard to tell if they’re running away from something or merely trying to ‘live life to the full’ in the only way they know how.
There is no doubt in my mind that every tiny fraction of my life is incredibly precious and I don't want to waste any of it. But for me, the clock I am governed by tells me that the time is: