Voluntary Solitude

I am currently on my second day of a five day solo vacation at Rockaway Beach, Oregon. It was originally supposed to be a family trip, but various circumstances has reduced it to just me. While disappointed at first, I am finding it very relaxing. I am sleeping in the main living space rather than the bedroom (both have queen size beds) so that I can leave the patio door open and hear the ocean. When it gets cool, I turn on the gas fireplace. I made a grocery run immediately after checking in and don’t have any specific plans to play tourist.

My workspace looks directly out the triple patio doors at the ocean. This end of the beach is very quiet. Cars are not allowed on nearly all Oregon beaches. Public access is usually in town and Rockaway Beach is also a small town.
I’ve already completed one longstanding e-project and am well into the second. I slept really well and turned the TV on only a couple times for local news. I have been listening to audiobooks and have nearly completed a whole series.

I retired in June, but I’d been living with my mom since March 2020. We are very compatible and enjoy each other’s company. The companionship is great, but it makes solitude difficult and personal projects more problematic. The isolation under COVID and the continued care required by new variants and all the unvaccinated individuals get frustrating. Some of our younger family members refuse to get vaccinated and both my mom have compromised immune systems. While I am comfortable doing most everything electronically, that isn’t always easy or expedient.

Voluntary solitude feels very different from forced isolation. When that isolation is for safety or financial reasons, choice is minimal. A sense of purpose and accomplishment are missing. Goals and milestones can feel contrived or unimportant. Low energy can become an issue. Distraction is all too easy. I hope to use some of the insights from this interlude when I go home to my mom, her Yorkie, my Scottish Fold and my parrot. Meanwhile, I am sharing photos and enjoying the break.