30/09/2014 12:12 BST | Updated 29/11/2014 05:59 GMT

When Aloneness Is Not Lonely: The Pleasures of Being Single and the Pleasures of Being Solitary


Here in Devon I'm having an unexpected weekend of rest and reflection. After a busy couple of weeks I'm feeling a bit rundown. I'm dosing this with yarrow-echinacea tea; reading; writing; salt baths; cat snuggles and cooking up vegetable stews.

Mostly I'm just embracing this rather tired state I'm in. If there's one thing in which I believe, it's to try to embrace whatever state one happens to find themselves in. In today's post I'm going to talk a little about embracing singleness and embracing way.

I'm currently single and this rarely strikes me as something problematic (but others may differ on this. Sometimes "single" seems to be read as a problem). I'm a people-focused introvert. I love spending time with people I care about and equally I relish spending time alone.

Lots of my best adventures have started off on my own. I either find dating fun or a bit draining. Mostly in life I just enjoy it when I happen to meet people, find a shared connection. Sometimes that's led into relationships, but quite often it has simply been a part of existence, complete in itself.

I like healthy relationships. Who doesn't? In romantic terms, intimacy and good sex and connection are all lovely. However, romantic relationships don't always provide these things. When they do, it's great. Any relationship in the world - be it romantic or platonic - is potentially wonderful when functional; painful and lonely when not.

I'd rather be happily alone than lonely. I'd rather enter relationships only when comfortable in my skin; when not seeking to fill emotional gaps in myself. I'm reasonably comfortable in myself. It's taken a long time to reach this point.

I have good adventures. Performance; wild swims in cold water; solo trips cross-country and abroad and an occasional tendency to just breathe: "Yes" to new horizons. If there's something I want to do: an event I want to attend or place I want to explore, I tend to do so if possible, maybe invite friends to join. None of this seems revolutionary to me, save for the fact our world so often seems frightened of aloneness.


I prefer indie flicks to rom coms; making it up as I go along as opposed to following any script for what I think I should be doing. I probably wish my love life featured more candlelit gothic cemeteries. I believe romance is about the individuals, not about rules. The sexiest thing I know is attention to detail and attention to who one is as a human being.

A friend told me a man I once dated seemed "too normal" for me. She was right. I'm a complex mass of quirks and idiosyncrasies (who isn't?). There is such a thing as "too normal" for me. I'd rather find someone self-knowing who'll meet me somewhere in the middle of our mutual paths than settle for the wrong relationship.

Whatever state I find myself in, I tend to want to explore it; learn its contours; see how it fits. For now, my singleness fits comfortably. I hope when my next relationship arrives, that it'll bring with it many new good adventures. I'll leave you with the words of the excellent Warsan Shire:

My alone feels so good, I'll only have you if you're sweeter than my solitude.