‘I’m not lonely–I’m here!’

Oh, how often do you get that kindly look of sympathy when you tell someone you’re a widow?

“It’s too bad you live alone,” some say. “It must be so hard to find people to do things with,” note others. And the worst: “You must be so lonely now.”

The most important answer is to the latter:

“I’m never lonely because I”M here.”

What that says is “I count. I am someone. I am interesting, curious, well-read and nice enough to attract friends to join me when I want company.” Also, being alone is better than under’taking an unsatisfactory substitute for company. (And that seems to be the majority of choices.)

What you are NOT saying is that Solitude can be a great relief. It also can bring the joy of deciding to do, buy and participate in that bring you–and only you–pleasure.

Most of us spent our lives pleasing others–first parents, then husbands and children– and putting their desires before our own in order to gain their love and approval, We furnished the house to make them comfortable, we bought and prepared food they liked best, went to movies they enjoyed , often missing art documentaries and love stories ┬áto attend war and Star Wars film with them.

But now we fill the market basket with our guilty pleasures–but without the guilt. We see all the movies WE choose, weeping and laughing with abandon. And we go home toa peaceful, pleasant homes that, in some cases, remain pristinely neat and clean with no on around to make messes.

Also, we have hours at a time to walk about in our cozy corners, reading good books or watching Masterpiece theater on PBS with no interruption.

So no one should feel sorry for us. Solitude has its advantages. Ask any married man or woman whose spouse is out of town on business for the week..