Imagine solitude. How alone are you in your imagined solitude? How challenged are you?Alone at the coffee shop for an hour or alone in Antarctica for 59 days? Everyone has there own sense of being alone. Some are out there on the edge of sanity willing themselves along an unknown route on the edge of peril. Some are able to get lost in a song driving through the city at night. So which is better or more rewarding? There is no telling, no way to put a value on any point in the spectrum of solitude. I read through an account of what must be one of the outer limits - see link below. What I imagine as solitude has ben redefined.
Over the last year I have been working on a project alone in my workshop. My shop is within feet of my house and yet I can be utterly lost. No heat and no air alone with tools and my project. Music plays, hours pass. Personally, if successful, it will be one of my greatest endeavors. I'm not trying to fly to the moon or trying to write an saga, but I can say that my project has been a series of high and lows - challenges, triumphs and failures miniature in stature, but enough to test my resolve. Even the sense of secrecy is a new challenge. This is born from the fear of failure. I don't want to be the guy that spouts off and is later asked "hey, whatever happened to that thing you said you were making?" - having nothing to show other than a portrait of personal disappointment. Naturally, if I arrive on the other side of what currently feels like a huge, solitary expanse filled with uncertainty, I will bask in glory here on my blogspot which is now one subscriber strong.
Solitude has many faces. For me, it is a positive word and more of a mental state than a physical condition - a positive sensation bound in a personal challenge. Walking on the edge of sanity, utterly alone and frozen for 59 days is more solitude than I would sign up for, but imagining it and reading an account of it amazes me. Imagine facing crushing despair every hour, could you press on? Will yourself to go forward? Endlessly lift yourself up? Imagine arriving on the "other side" of the chasm of solitude, there would be nothing that you could not do. Everyone has the potential to cross their personal expanse and arrive "scarred and hard" with a sense of newness and appreciation of their world. I applaud anyone who has embraced solitude, crossed their personal chasm and can reflect on the feat.
LINK: First woman to cross Antarctic solo - I've never felt so alone