Tuesday, February 17, 2009


Recently a friend forwarded me an article by William Deresiewicz entitled "The End of Solitude" (published in The Chronicle, January 30, 2009 for those who wish to look it up) about how in our hyper-connected society we have lost our ability to be alone with ourselves. We are so social, it argues, that we no longer find those moments in which to seek the deepest of ourselves. If you have 542 friends on Facebook, it can be argued, maybe you have no friends at all.

I'm pretty guilty of this crime myself, of course. But I have realized that as I age I am less and less interested in large social gatherings, more and more interested in small groups where everyone can talk together all at once. And I confess that I am "friends" with people on Facebook whom I can hardly remember, but in my own defense, I think that I last logged on to Facebook a week ago; it has lost its attraction quickly.

I'm becoming quite the Luddite. Or Amish. Or an outsider. I'm not yet sure what the label is; I've been a granola girl for a while, but that doesn't quite suit me either because despite my lack of make up and professional hair styling or products, I still like to wear dresses and heels sometimes, and I usually have painted toenails in colors named "Hoodoo Voodoo" or "Aphrodite's Pink Nightie" or, my favorite, "I'm Not Really A Waitress." I'm pretty certain that no real granola girl would participate in such activities.

But whatever my label, I'm falling out of love with society at large even as I feel more connected to it. That is, I am reading more and more books, and exploring spirituality and my own psyche, and listening to podcasts on human nature and science and religion and anecdotes and fiction....so I feel connected. But I feel my own little world shrinking slightly, as I become more introverted.

I need social connections, even as I find myself growing and making food from scratch, and curling up on my couch with a mug of hot tea, and playing Go Fish with Tessa.

It's a contradiction that doesn't yet make sense to me, but I'm enjoying the process of sorting it out.

Reading, gardening, writing, cooking are all solitary pursuits. I love my friends, and my time with them, as much as ever, but I do feel myself changing, becoming more of a homebody.

Except when I ride a bus to the art museum, or visit at the social hour at church, or chat with moms on the playground.

My head is foggy on this subject, and my writing is even more jumbled than usual as a result....but the thoughts are there.