Living Well Enough Alone

April by

Let me just wave away some of the miasmic predictions of depression for those flying solo through later stages of life. For me living alone seems equivalent to the solo practice of any art.

A solo musician for instance, can’t be assumed to lack interest in the output of other soloists, ensembles or symphonies and can hardly have avoided learning from them: Joining others on occasion can be a particular and refreshing pleasure. Playing solo merely allows you the freedom to discover new voicings, lyrics, flavors and delights spontaneously, without compromising the flow of it.

Equivalents of the metaphor can be found in the garden, workshop, house or head.

Living alone can be an opportunity to become more self-sufficient in both practical and creative ways.

The sheer number of my similarly-liberated chronological peers represents, for me is a substantial practical and emotional resource base. Get the lonelies on occasion? Pick up the phone. Offer what you are moved to when called upon in turn.

A friend needs a hand, the loan of a vehicle? Offer it. Be satisfied in return for the shift in your continuum and the pleasure of their company and, for that matter, of being of assistance. Don’t burden yourself by keeping a ledger on it.

Are you going to get down at times? Well, yeah! A low-pressure system sliding in over the land-base will do that. We’re delicate creatures in that regard. The trick is to keep it at bay, remind yourself of the various ways in which you remain fortunate, and reason or finesse your way out of it.

So….fie on a recent study linking ‘increased risk of depression’ to ‘a growing trend of solitary living in much of the world.’ (Not to quibble, but to my knowledge the world is getting ever-more crowded on a shrinking ecological support base, so I suppose this is.…. as usual… all about the developed world)

Riddle me this. How is it useful to presuppose depression for those dealing with circumstances unlikely to change? How is it not disabling, disempowering and tending to delete from our array of tools the inborn capacity to adapt.

Get enough age on you and the biological imperatives for cohabitation disappear, as do the triggers for them, even when the raw capacity remains. Add to that the complex social, economic and family circumstances most of us generate over a lifetime and the challenge of integrating them with someone else’s becomes contra-indicated. We’re not twenty-two and headed out into the world to form a life together. That’s not intrinsically depressing, folks. It’s just different.

If , to quote one William Hazlitt, “Rules and models destroy genius and art”….ceding the ground to depression will certainly do that.

We are a unique generation in the history of the species, apparently to live en mass twenty to thirty years beyond the biological need to do so, most of us intellectually intact and likely to remain substantially so. We have the opportunity to create our own ways of being, unfettered by existing norms.  There aren’t any.

It’s a fine thing to be a soloist and to work on being an ever more skilled one: Artists playing life as we are moved to; stick-handling around our limitations, not sulking on the bench. (Yes, hockey can be art….even if not always practiced that way).

So….Here’s a little song on the topic:

[audio:|titles=Livin well Enough Alone]

Some might fuss over the idea of settling for ‘well enough’, as if only constant ecstasy will suffice in life. Ecstasy, in my (yes, direct) experience, is by its nature exceptional….ergo, it aint an every day kind of thing.



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