{ solitude }


I tried to remember my great-grandmother. We used to visit her from time to time during the weekends with my parents. As kids, me, my sister and my two cousins used to run ahead uphill through narrow lanes and field paths covered by morning dew to get there first. But we never found my grandmother at home. At that time of the day she was usually sitting up in the meadow behind the homestead, grazing the goats and cutting hay by hand with a sickle. She always wore a headscarf on her hair, like all women did there after they got married. When she was returning from the pastures, she carried a huge linen bag on her back filled with grass or hay for the rest of the animals. I’ve never seen her wearing trousers. Even when she was working in the fields, she always wore skirts that she sewed herself. She looked pretty to me, like grandmothers from fairy-tales. But besides the warm greetings, we’ve never really talked… She was always a stranger to me, living in another world than the one I was raised in. It was only years later, after she passed away, that my thoughts brought me back to her. I became an adult, a stranger in my own world. It was the loneliness and my solitude within society that led me to discover how much we have in common. How much I am being her and how much she reminds me of myself.

solitude /solitary/
Unlike loneliness, solitude is something we choose. It is something that restores and builds us up.
In solitude, in other words, I am ‘by myself’, together with myself, and therefore two-in-one, whereas in loneliness I am actually one, deserted by all others.
Solitude might be a positive state, maybe a state of freedom.
Solitude can help us get in touch with or engage with our true self. It allows us to reflect on ourselves, others, our life, and our future.
While loneliness is something that depletes us and is imposed on us. Solitude is often a springboard to greater self-awareness and new growth.
Solitude grounds us in who we are – and that enables us to reach out and give to others.
In solitude, all thinking is a dialogue of thoughts.
Solitude might turn into loneliness.
Solitude is personal. Solitude is also political. Solitude is collective.


– Eva Štrocholcová