Picture Jack Nicholas in The Shining. Wicked grin. Hallucinations. Insanity.
That’s NOT what I’m experiencing during my stay in the frozen Northland.
I’m perfectly fine, thank you. No cabin fever. Not stir crazy. Not bored. I’ve been somewhere every day, talked with somebody, even if it’s chatting with the waitress at a takeout counter. My accent usually gets a smile, maybe even a conversation. Not always. Sometimes they just don’t understand me. But, hey, my family doesn’t always understand me.
Being alone isn’t a choice for everyone. Widows and widowers didn’t ask for their partners to die. Some people who are single want to be married. People who are divorced would have preferred for a better outcome for their marriage.
Still, some people do better being alone than others.
Going out does not require two people. Fixing French toast does not require two people. Going to the theater does not require two people. I’ve heard people say they’re embarrassed to eat alone at a restaurant. I’m not. If I’m all I’ve got today, then I’m all I’ve got. Should I sit home alone because I don’t have a companion? I don’t think so.
Being alone and loneliness aren’t the same. Nor is the issue extroversion versus introversion. I am a people person, but my excessive extroversion, over the years, nudged me in the direction of also enjoying time alone. When part of your job description is to love unlovable people, you can get tired. So I’ve tried to find a balance between people time and alone time.
What have I been doing in New Hampshire?
- Reading, of course.
- Walking outdoors, even in 15-degree weather. Dress warmly and there’s no problem. I did not walk when it was 17 below.
- Also, I am part of four groups already—a church, a writers’ workshop, a twelve-step weekly meeting, and an association with other clergy. I’m a big believer in showing up!
- New Hampshire, like any other place in the world, is full of interesting sites. I won’t find them sitting in front of a television set. One of my self-imposed rules is “No daytime television during the week.”
- Antique stores, libraries, museums, old churches—it’s a lovely and fascinating world. If only a few turn out to be interesting, then I am way ahead in life experiences. I went into a country store yesterday that took me about 17 seconds to walk through. My life was not diminished, and it could have been enriched. Who knows what I might have found there?
- I ask questions. If a person is rude, or ignorant, I move on. That’s not a life crisis. That doesn’t mean I should stop being curious. I went to a Farmers Market yesterday held in a small town’s welcome center and the lady in charge of welcoming was negligent at her job. That doesn’t quite cover it—she was awful. But other people gathered around and they were helpful. I bought some raspberry jam I put on some toast this morning.
God is good. Life is good. I’m okay, even when I’m alone with my toast and raspberry jam.