Alone But Not Lonely

Aloneness – defined by Merriam Webster as separateness, solitariness – not to be confused with loneliness – defined as emptiness or hollowness inside, isolated.

It is interesting that it has now been just over a year since husband was released from his cancer pain and suffering, and yet I have not had any real sense of loneliness or aloneness – until this week. This week, for whatever reason, the reality of that aloneness has been circling around me.

Alone, but not lonely
Housatanic River, CT

That is not to say I’m lonely – that is not to say there is no one around me that cares, because there are dear friends nearby, dear friends not so near by, and family. I know I am liked, I know I am loved. I don’t have a problem living alone – I live quite well with myself. It is simply this realization that I am the only human in this house now. Fortunately I have my furry girls, or I would be known as the old lady who talks to herself. Odd, I think, that this realization has just surfaced and I wonder why. Not that it matters why – it is what it is.

Alone, but not lonely
Lighthouse off Stonington

My winter days are spent inside, a little time doing housework or laundry, but most of my time doing those things that appeal to me. Working on a photo book of our trip to Vietnam, practicing using Lightroom 5 and now Photoshop Elements 13, reading, napping, watching TV while I knit in the evenings. I knit because if I don’t keep my hands busy, they think they should be dipping into not-so-healthy snacks, like salty potato chips. So I knit, and Kat will take some of those knitted items back to South Korea with her this summer, to share with her friends and colleagues. Maybe some of them will find their way to the local women’s shelter.

Alone, but not lonely
Stonington, Maine

The urge to take a road trip somewhere is hitting me, but winter is not a good time to do that. Our weather is such that getting out now would be easy – coming back, who knows? So I will think of places I’d like to go – without flying, because I am not ready to fly again so soon – and I will plan and plot and maybe, later on when the weather is more stable, I’ll actually get in the car with one of my furry girls and go. Only one furry girl, because my Bailey girl does not really like to travel and her old achey joints make it difficult. If, of course, I can find a suitable place for Bailey girl to stay while I am gone.

Alone, but not lonely

I think it really is not so much the going, as it is thinking about the going. This world has so much to see, so many places I would like to visit. But I am happy where I am too – perhaps it’s the knowledge that if I choose to go somewhere I do not have to consider whether someone else wants to go. Perhaps it’s the knowledge that I can be a free spirit now – or insofar as the budget permits I can be a free spirit.

Alone, but not lonely

Perhaps it is that I recognize that inside a somewhat conservative exterior, there lies a spirit that would drive a school bus yellow vehicle – something like the Subaru Crosstrek. There is this spirit that would wear tie-dye tops, flowing in the breeze, with sandals on the feet. There is this spirit that would climb to the top of a mountain and shout “hellooooo” just to hear the word echo back. There is this spirit that is willing, whether or not the body or the more conservative exterior is.

Alone, but not lonely

So I spend my time in my home with my furry girls, allowing myself to revel in the aloneness, the ability to do as I please when I please, enjoying the quiet without anxiety or remorse. I spend my time alone, but not lonely.


I know I have enough.

About Carol

I'm me - nothing unusual, just me. Widowed, 2 grown children who are my best friends, 1 dog, retired, loving being retired. I am woman, I am strong.
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28 Responses to Alone But Not Lonely

  1. Dear Carol, I think it’s very much what my mother felt when she was widowed and her grown kids couldn’t bring themselves to settle in Detroit. We visited back and forth, and she worked and sometimes had a parties and we traveled together. She adopted lots of kids at the Wayne State Psych Department, where she was head secretary and typed their papers and was adored.
    But some weekends she’d never leave the house, and she read a book a day and enjoyed Barney Miller reruns and enjoyed her own company.
    I found this post beautifully written and thought-provoking.


  2. Robin says:

    This is such a beautiful post, Carol. ♥


  3. Lynne Ayers says:

    The cycles of our lives. I am glad you have landed in a happy, comfortable place, Carol.


  4. suzicate says:

    Lovely prose, Carol. It’s good you’re comfortable in your skin and know the difference between alone and lonely. So many people really don’t do well alone…I think you do great!


  5. jay53 says:

    I think my mother felt it, too. She was fierce in her refusal to leave her little bungalow where she lived alone. She talked on the phone to friends and relatives, she had visitors in and out, and before she was disabled and couldn’t get out by herself, she joined clubs and learned new skills. She was not lonely. I think she’d have liked to see us, her children, more often, but accepted that we had our own lives and lived too far away to be forever popping down to see her. Now, of course, I feel terribly guilty that I didn’t somehow make the effort to do that more often, but that’s the way life is.

    I think perhaps the fact that you have kept yourself so very busy this year has helped to keep the feeling of loneliness away. It’s bound to come and sit with you sometimes though, because your life’s companion is missing. It’s when that realisation cannot be denied that you may feel lonely, before your sense of here and now comes back to drive it away again. That’s the way life is.

    I think you must be an inspiration to anyone who has lost their partner.


  6. says:

    I understand how you feel and send you warm wishes!


  7. Dear Carol, I am not surprised that it has taken a full year to have these feelings. This past year has been a huge adjustment for you, not to mention that some of your close friends have also moved. I think it is fitting that you can use this winter season for such reflection and hopefully when the spring days start to warm the ground, you will go out with new purpose- alone but not lonely.


  8. Joanne says:

    If your spirit is asking, why not indulge? You could start off with the tie-dye tops and sandals, and see where spirit leads you from there. And you have a while to get your thoughts connected to your spirit, as you wouldn’t want to be wearing sandals in the cold weather, would you?

    I love that you are content with your aloneness, Carol. ❤


  9. Heather says:

    This is a beautiful post, Carol – and your chosen photos really show your emotion too. I think you’re in a healthy place, and I am happy for you.
    Is it knitting that prevents you from eating junk? I must take up knitting. Of course, I say that every year as winter approaches. Instead, I take up cheesecake eating 😉
    Happy roadtripping, whenever that may come to pass. In the meantime, I hope you enjoy your time alone.


  10. Carol — I’m so glad that you’ve got your furry gals and you’re not lonely. And you’ve got so many creative projects and plotting and scheming for your next grand adventure.

    I enjoy being alone too, Like you said, I enjoy my own company — me, myself, and I get along very well together 🙂


  11. Dawn says:

    Perhaps it’s hitting you know because you just came off a lovely time with your children. Or perhaps it’s just time to recognize alone. I’m alone too, these past few weeks, but I know he is coming home eventually, so I cherish my alone time. This weekend I”m staying in (I think) and reading. You are so right about the knitting. I need to start again to avoid those snack urges at night. I want to take my furry girl and drive as well. Want to meet me in the middle of the country? Oh wait. Darn job.


  12. Karma says:

    Beautiful post and beautiful thoughts Carol. I love reading about what is going through your mind. I, too, would love a road trip. I think about it all the time but never do it. I think that I too, could enjoy doing it alone, and not be lonely.


  13. Happy new year and best wishes to you and yours for health, happiness, peace & prosperity in 2015!


  14. I totally get this. I’ve been alone for awhile now – cherish my independence and my freedom to choose. What’s more my conservative exterior crumbled years ago. It’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but I revel in it!


  15. Lisa says:

    Although I’m not where you are in life just yet, I relate to everything you’ve said here. The what ifs are forcing me to face this possibility sooner than I’d planned, and I do so with very mixed emotions. Your thoughts are wonderfully written and I enjoyed reading them today.


  16. Judee says:

    A wonderfully heart-felt post! Many good things can come from solitude.


  17. Reblogged this on A Call to Witness and commented:
    The title and her words speak for themselves. Moving forward despite tests, trials and tragedy. Living her Golden Life.


  18. sheldonk2014 says:

    I love your concept of being lonely but not alone,so many times I have felt this way,the is a distance between you and others that somehow is created,may be because of my complexities, that I need this distance so I don’t have to explain my inter most workings, I hear you loud and clear,I know you’ll find you space in between the lines of line,I hear your spirit,stay focused,and in the lite

    Liked by 1 person

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