I am not by nature a very social person. I like my quiet and I like my solitude. It's pretty horrible of me to feel this way, but often when the children are demanding my attention I wish they'd just go away. I sometimes envy my single friends whose time is their own, who can spend five hours reading a book or browsing Wikipedia or taking a nap and not have to justify their use of time to anyone (never mind the fact that few people, single or not, ever have five hours of free time to do anything).
I've actually tried living that fantasy life of solitude, though, and it wasn't as great as I'd imagined it would be. It was, as a matter of fact, kind of lonely. Tonight Emily Pearson posted a little about her evolving thoughts on marriage, citing a line from Shall We Dance?:
[We get married] because we need a witness to our lives. There’s a billion people on the planet, I mean, what does any one life really mean? But in a marriage, you’re promising to care about everything – the good things, the bad things, the terrible things, the mundane things. All of it. All the time, every day. You’re saying, “Your life will not go unnoticed, because I will notice it. Your life will not go unwitnessed, because I will be your witness."When I lived alone for three months in a mildewy basement apartment in Seattle, with much of my time free to spend as I pleased and no one who cared what I did or didn't do, that's what was missing: a witness.
I'm thankful to witness my children's lives as they grow, to have them to witness mine. I'm thankful to put them to bed every night by 7:30 and have peace and quiet for the rest of the evening. I'm thankful to have someone to spend those evenings with, and I'm thankful that person is FoxyJ, who's happy to spend those evenings together watching a movie or playing Scrabble, but is also happy to pass the evening quietly reading a book or browsing the internet. As I write this post the children are sweetly sleeping (is it bad that I love them most when they're asleep?) and Foxy is sitting on the guest bed next to the desk, researching for a paper on Titus Andronicus (never mind that the play ends with everyone brutally murdered and/or eaten). We each have our solitude, but we have someone to witness that solitude, to be there when we decide we aren't in the mood to be alone anymore.
All things considered, I'm a pretty lucky guy.