#SOL20 Day 18 “ALONE”

SOL20This March I will be participating in the montOld Friend from Far Awayh-long Slice of Life Challenge. Each day I will be posting a ‘slice’ from my life. This year I am using Natalie Goldberg’s book Old Friend from Far Away: The Practice of Writing Memoir to provide my sparks for memoir writing. Each post will be a quick write using one of Natalie’s exercises to practice the skill of noticing and remembering.

I thought this prompt from Natalie’s book was particularly relevant as we are being asked to socially distance ourselves from others. For some, that will truly mean being alone, and figuring out how to live alone is not easy. Though I am not alone now, one experience with alone-ness taught me that I am stronger than I ever thought possible, and to trust in the adage, “This too shall pass.


Are you facing being alone right now as we are advised to be socially distant? Are you alone despite the pandemic precautions? All I can say to you is that “this too shall pass” is something to take to heart. I have a friend who is notebooking about this right now and while it breaks my heart to read it, I know one day she will look back and see how she persevered, how she was stronger than she imagined. ALONE is hard to experience and hard to write about. Try writing about it anyway.

29 thoughts on “#SOL20 Day 18 “ALONE”

  1. I am lucky not to be alone in the house each night, but your post brought back memories of my first time living alone as an adult, and even earlier than that, feeling alone despite having roommates in college. It is an overwhelming feeling! I will have to check in on my own child later today, to make sure he’s handling all this new alone time.

  2. This is definitely a relevant post for the times we are living through. I live alone so staying at home for me means I could not be around people for some time. Although I am a person who is comfortable being alone, I wonder how I’m going to feel about it after a week, or two weeks, or more. I think people crave community at times like these, but because of the nature of this situation we’re forced to move away from each other. Knowing there’s research that shows loneliness can have a negative impact on health makes me think a lot about the elderly who can’t have visitors right now.

  3. You are creating some powerful posts sparked by Natalie Goldberg’s prompts. (I suppose an upside to all of this is that I’ll be able to read her book now.) You really captured that sense of being alone. I could picture you in that apartment, thinking of your dad’s departing plane. You reminded me of a time when I felt alone–though actually I was in the middle of others. Funny how that can be. (I sense a slice coming on!) It’s also interesting how your writing shifted to capture a year, rather than a moment. I imagine that was a year of tremendous personal growth as well. Take care, Paula.

  4. Paula, I loved reading your post. There were many times in my life that I felt very much alone. I was single until I married at the age of sixty, and most of my adult life I dealt with my parents’ serious health problems alone. Presently, I am thankful for Ralph and my three Welsh Corgis. I am thankful for this writing community, too, as I am used to being very busy with conferences and school visits, walks in Longwood Gardens (closed until further notice), and dinners with friends and family. More ideas now to write about….

    1. If we look for the silver linings (like you are doing) we will all be much better off. When we have been alone/lonely we have such amazing capacity for compassion with others going through it. Sending hugs to you and your corgis!

  5. Memories flooded back as I read your notebook entry. Being a young adult and moving away from home was scary, but doable. This will be too. When we spoke to our kids last night we did say we want to start Facetiming instead of just talking and texting like we normally do. I think it will help make us a little less lonely

  6. You create vivid images and feelings with your words, Paula. I am thankful for social media during this time. It will allow for safe social gatherings. It think it will become more important as this continues on. I love the phrase “this, too, shall pass.” It has gotten me through many, many hard times in my life.

  7. Yet another great writing idea. College represents for many of us the first time as fledglings. Flight is never easy, but once you find your flock? ❤️

  8. What an appropriate post for how many of us around the world are feeling. I felt very much like you did when I moved away after college. I’m glad you got through it!! 🙂

    1. I am learning from the words of the Police song (Message in a Bottle) “Seems I’m not alone in being alone”. Hopefully every one finds a way to get through it.

  9. This was a great post to read right now. At first I was tempted to skip over the photo of your journal and once finished was so glad you put the journal photo in – some how that picture helped take me to the place and time that you were alone. Your memories were captured in that writing so well and it fits so well for now.
    I have a brother in law who just came out of brain surgery sitting alone in his small apartment. He call and ask to come and sit in our house for awhile – this being alone is hard work especially when there is so much fear underneath. Thanks for this post.

    1. Oh, Joanne, I feel for your brother in law right now. So many will be alone and so lonely. I hope we will all reach out in every way we can. Sending you love and light!

  10. I prefer to be along most times but due to circumstances even before the virus I experienced Loneliness for the first time. It was a strange sensation. I think lonely and alone are two completely different feelings.

    Love your handwriting too! Thanks for sharing your notebook!

  11. Last night I wrote about feeling alone, even though I’m not. I think my heart was hurting as much for others who must be feeling alone as much as for myself. I’ve been that alone girl you describe. I too wish I could advise her. Those fo-overs never come. I wonder how we’d be processing this moment in time w/out technology.

    1. Whoa, interesting question about technology. It has been a godsend for me, but I remember I did not have that when I was alone so many years ago. I wonder what that experience would have been like with technology to connect me to others. Hmmmm.

  12. Looking back at challenging times is a wonderful way to remind ourselves of our strength. It is true, when we look back–if we could get through that–we can get through this. It sounds like you are taking on these prompts with your whole self and it will be inspiring to others who may need comfort in finding ways to use writing as a way to process this time.

    1. Hang in there, Michelle and lean on this writing community. So many wonderful teachers, writers, human beings in this collective that you can reach out to. Connect with me anytime!

  13. Thank you for sharing this and for the meaningful message, Paula. Whether alone physically or emotionally, it’s a hard place to be. With so many widowed friends, I feel very lucky to have my spouse with me during this time. Let’s be extra cognizant of reaching out to those who might be struggling with this. Stay well and thank you.

  14. As someone who has never married, I have spent lots of time alone, some are definitely harder than others. At one point in my life, I moved from Colorado to New Hampshire, knowing no one except the professors who headed up the doctoral program. That was a scary lonely time. I’m also thinking of my mom right now. Her senior facility is closed to the public, meaning no one except medical caregivers, can go in. Yesterday, they closed the dining room and quarantined them to their rooms. My mom is feeling so alone.. and I feel so helpless and sad for her.

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