On alone time

I’m slowly re-learning what it means to take time. To make time for myself. It’s taken a slowly easing into, a dropping further below the previously held notions of what “alone time” has meant. I’ve watched my comfort levels with this waver, go up and down, observing when I am comfortable and when I am not.

It’s all so telling.

Beyond the obvious lessons in putting myself first and setting clearer, healthier boundaries, I’m also now seeing how this learning has its roots in the deeper process of individuation and growing closer to the needs of my inner self — the broader arc that has defined my journey so far. I’m learning to move beyond outward behaviour that is often loud and fond of making statements, to listening in to the voice that doesn’t always have a loud, expressive voice to say what it wants, and when I listen, sometimes the ask is of a quiet, non-exhibitionist solitude.

This is the first time that despite having VC visiting, a rather full weekend for ourselves and the usual temptation to abandon everything and be with him that overrides all other motivations, I got out willingly and easily, to make it to a movement workshop I’d signed up for weeks ago. And instead of rushing home after, I went over to Koshy’s and had lunch by myself. Because I wanted to stay with what I had experienced at the workshop, I wanted to sink in, I wanted to tend to that sense of oneness with myself for a little bit longer.

I’ve been doing this solo thing for literally years now. Long before solitude and activities-for-one were hashtaggable digital vignettes made cool by millennials. I’ve watched movies and had meals alone since my early twenties. Later, being self-employed and largely deprived of my kind of friends in Goa, doing things by myself really became a way of life without much thought, choice or coolth attached to it, even.

I have spoken many, many times of the proven benefits of embracing and getting comfortable with solitude and stillness. For years, this was just life for me in Goa. Not something I had to cull-out time for and cultivate outside of regular life.

This feels different. Like an outcome of a deliberate choosing. Not from rebellion, minus any guilt, not as a fall out or to compensate for rejection or any of the other usual suspects that sometimes precede an outing like this for me.

Today, this really feels like it is coming from a place of a deep and simple need to honour myself. A need that has shown up, simply asking to be seen.

I am glad I am beginning to catch these cues. And I finally have the ability to act on them selflessly. The gifts of solitude, whether in an indulgent, luxurious getaway of some kind or simply enjoyed bowl of rasam-rice eaten alone in bed — you do you and choose what you will — are seriously underrated. Somewhat lost, and just diluted in what has become the predominant narrative around self-care these days, I’ve realised how much alone time can be done easily and affordably. It isn’t about buying stuff and experiences and consuming more to feed the capitalist machine that’s profiting from our angst and collective efforts to discover ourselves. Although if sometimes you want to indulge that, go right ahead.

It has only now become about truly, simply, feeling enough in my own company. Of feeling safe, held and sufficient. Of having my own back. Of feeling steady, still and solid in and of myself.

As someone who has long lamented the lingering loneliness that always lurks in my life, this feels different.

This feels new.

On my way to Koshy’s, zipping through traffic on MG Road, thinking these thoughts, I was gobsmacked my a bright blue butterfly that flew right through the auto I was riding! In through one side, fluttered around attacking my face, and out through the other, all while we were scramming through moving traffic in the middle of the city.

If that isn’t a sign, of new growth, of flight, of lightness, I don’t know what is.

***

Happy and grateful to be in a good streak, physically. Waking up early, feeling energetic, feeling the urge to use my body for more than just getting around, challenging and stretching myself outside the limits I am comfortable with. I said to D this morning, that something has clicked into place for me as far as understanding exercise and what it does for my body goes. And he put it perfectly by saying maybe I have pivoted. Haha.

I think it’s true, though. And it’s what I am grateful for that shift in understanding, because this time around it seems to have come from deep within. Not motivated by only fitness performance alone, or only aesthetics alone. There has been minimal deprivation, plenty nourishment in a mind-body kind of way.

This time around it feels like the outcome of a deeper connection with myself. I’m grateful for this.

Three years ago: Too many words, so here’s a copy out

Pour your thoughts over mine

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