alone moments

I often travel or eat on my own. I don’t say this to elicit sympathy, it’s a side-effect of attending events away from home, which I often have to do.

Look down into darkness

It’s also something I’ve always done throughout my life, when I was single or in a relationship. I’ve never minded going to the cinema on my own, for instance. This was something my sister would never do. For her it was a social event to be shared, so she never went to the cinema solo. I got into the habit as a teenager because there were always movies I wanted to see, and not always someone to accompany me. I never thought to deny myself the pleasure of seeing a movie because I didn’t have a companion.

Water bubbles

Sure, I often prefer to have someone with me to discuss a film, to help negotiate unfamiliar cities, or to chat to over lunch, but I can make my own way and my own entertainment. There are times when being on my own is lonesome, when I miss Martin, or feel isolated. Smartphones have made it all a lot easier. Now, I can read books on an app, IM or text someone while in a café on my own. I particularly enjoy taking photographs. I like capturing the ordinary beauty which is around us all the time.

Irises at 8

And sometimes I put down the phone, and experience the moment fully. I accept the awkwardness and the squirm of pathos without using the small screen to shield my solitude.

It is then the true test occurs. Can I be content and without distraction?

Sometimes. In those moments the world rushes in and I observe it and my place in its intricate movement. Loneliness eases and peace replaces it.

And if nothing else, I often get a good photo.

From the top: a photo of a goldfish in a London restaurant, a carafe of water from a Galway café, and irises in a Galway restaurant – all taken on solo expeditions.


  • K. A Laity

    I feel relaxed alone, but I’ve always had a solitary nature. But I miss our Saturdays in Galway. It’s such a treasure to spend time with someone with whom you feel completely at ease. And who can laugh and curse at the same things! 🙂

    • Maura

      Aye, I’ve had this independent streak since I was a kid. Being on my own all day (except for Minnie), also means I have to be happy with my own company – mostly!

      But, there is no greater treasure than being with true friends. Like you Kate. 🙂

      Spending a lot of time on your own means you savour those times all the more.

  • Richmond

    I’ve had more than my fair share of this over the past year. And sometimes it can be very tough!
    There is certainly something in having someone to share stuff with.
    And, my I say (as an aside), advising people to ‘get out more’ does not help as it misses the point. Being alone and being lonely are two different things!

    • Maura

      Yes Richmond, alone and lonely are not the same.

      Loneliness can be a crippling feeling. There are ways to combat it, and as you say, ‘getting out more’ may not be the ideal solution. You cannot escape your feelings, although you might be able to distract yourself from them (until the dreadful 3am wakefulness malaise strikes).

      I’ve found that accepting you feel this way, and not arguing with yourself is a good first step.

      It’s the fear of experiencing it, and the hatred for self-pity, that can tangle it up into a terrible, dark mass in one’s soul.

  • Richmond

    Cheers, Maura!

    Thanks for the lovely words! (but then, that’s what you’re good at!)