Between People and Alone

Being alone. It is something that we all have to do at one time or another. Some people choose it and some people are handed it. Some feel it is a precious gift; a commodity to be bargained and traded for. Others see it fearfully as a punishment for some wrong doing. In this same respect, some people count having lots of people around them a blessing.

To never have to be alone with one’s own thoughts.

For me it isn’t the being alone or the being with people that I find difficult. No, it’s the transition from being in a group to being alone or from being alone to being again, with others, that I find challenging. It’s those moments when you’ve had someone to talk to all day, noise of people walking, doors closing, phone calls being made, and squabbles being solved. The noise of water running, a toe tapping, someone’s radio was left on. Then, everyone leaves and the house is quiet.

Suddenly I can hear the drip of the faucet upstairs, the one that has to be turned just so to make it stop. The floor creaks when the cat walks over it at the right angle, and don’t forget about the hum of the furnace fan as it cools down.

It is the panic of quiet; quiet panic. The fleeting thoughts of “are they actually coming back” and “what now”. The noise of the quiet hurts my head and I have to busy myself until I no longer feel alone.

Then I’m ok again. The quiet doesn’t seem so quiet. I have things to do and the transition has finished. Life goes on and alone isn’t so alone.

By the time everyone comes home, the house welcoming the noise back, I realize the fullness of having people at home was in the way I thought of them anyways.

It’s the transition between two people. Who I am with others and who I am alone. You see, they’re not the same two people. No ones alone-person and people-person are the same. We do things differently when no one is watching. It’s a transition between inner mind and outer mind.

For some, this transition is marked by a fleeting twinge of sadness, then they’re off to their next solo project. For others it is a sigh of relief and a releasing of tension. Notice for yourself, next time, what that feeling is in those moments, between people and alone.

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