Living And Fashion

I Don’t Need Meditation Apps. I Need Real, Genuine Solitude.

I’m losing it. My parents’ house, where I live, feels stuffed with people. People and noise. People in need. My mother is asking me to sit with her — she gets out of bed late these days, a victim of COPD and mild dementia — but I’m on deadline for a big story. My father, at 86 healthier than my mom but nearly deaf, is hollering up the stairs to me about something. That’s how we communicate now, by yelling, usually over a blaring TV turned to the news, which I can’t bring myself to watch. The phone starts ringing. At the same time, the caregiver emerges from Mom’s room with a question for me.

I’ve just walked in the door from running errands — I haven’t even taken my coat off yet. Telling everyone I’ll be out in a minute, I slip into my room, although the walls provide little relief from the din. My blood pressure has got to be soaring. I love my parents so much. But at 52 and single, the stress of trying to care for them and keep my freelance journalism career going, while living virtually without privacy, is overwhelming. I sit down and ask on Facebook, “Do you ever wish you could disappear to a cabin all by yourself, deep in the woods?”

The responses I receive shock me. Dozens and dozens of friends comment on my post over the next few hours. Almost all are women, and almost all of their replies are a variation of “Hell, yes I do.”

I’d thought there was something wrong me with for craving solitude and silence so much I dream of running far, far away to get it. Curious, I began to reach out to the friends who responded to my post, asking if they ever manage to find any peace and quiet in their daily lives, and if so, where? How? Baltimore, Maryland resident Carolyn Turgeon, 47, who somehow manages to juggle writing novels and non-fiction books while editing Enchanted Living tells me she’s discovered silence, and a strange measure of solitude, at the local pool.


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