I was in the car a lot yesterday and heard NPR’s Best of my Knowledge show on Loneliness. My ears perked since cohousing is given as the solution. Yet, the author interviewed made a distinction between loneliness and solitude. She mentioned her mother tried to kill her and the host suggested that solitude must have felt safer to her. They also discussed how extroverts might be more alone in a crowd.
That’s how I feel. I have enjoyed solitude this year. For the first time ever I took a break from people. As a lifelong extravert it took a crisis for me to see that some people and groups are plain draining. Being by the ocean and seeing the pelicans and dolphins are life giving. I don’t need to be with toxic people. I have found healthy people and even groups online and have met up in person with some of them. Sure, it’d be great to walk out your door and visit with neighbors right there. Once they give you more grief and pain than joy, then solitude is welcome instead.
I recently spoke to someone who said they enjoy their community. They wish they could live with them. I wanted to scream that they should cherish what they have. Sure, if you can, live near each other. Yet, moving away from that community and into cohousing may not be as satisfying as what you have. Creating a healthy, nourishing group is wonderful when it happens. Seems like a few cohousing groups do that so if you have it already, or can create it, stay where you are.
My college pals and I were complaining how hard it has been to find similar people and sense of community compared to what we had at our small campus. Yet, we have recreated a zoom group. Not as nice as being nearby, but it’ll do. And I”m still getting to know new neighbors at the condo and meet plenty of people at the beach.
So, if it’s a question of toxicity or solitude? I”ll take door number two every time.