Samuel J. Tanner 3 minute read


I can't deny that I crave solitude.

I'm an introvert. There's no getting around it. Being around people is exhausting, and solitude is one of the few thing that seems to recharge me.

Don't get me wrong. I love being around people. My family. Friends. Teaching. Academia. Improv. All of these are social aspects of my living, and I'm grateful to be surrounded by the people that surround me. Still, solitude has always been necessary. This is likely why I've gravitated towards Reading and writing. Video games too. These are peaceful, solitary activities. I like taking walks as well. Being alone in the woods always calms me.

Solitary is a rare commodity these days. I have two sons. I'm three years into my career as a professor, and grappling with the tenure-track. I'm a founding member of Happy Valley Improv. There's rarely a quiet moment around here. I'm not complaining. I love the things that are emerging from this new life. But I'm tired too.

Katie's bible study was cancelled last week. She took the boys to a friend's house for a playdate. They left around 9:00 in the morning. I poured another cup of coffee, and listened to our quiet house. Nobody was screaming about anything. It was so strange.

Usually, I watch the boys on Saturday morning. Instead, I drank coffee, listened to Radiohead, and peacefully worked on a journal article. This might not sound all that thrilling, but it was needed. I felt some energy return to this ancient body. I kid. Thirty-seven is young. I know that. Yes, Meowasauras kept jumping onto my lap, and Yara mewled from the couch. My cats can be more annoying than my sons. Still, I was alone. And it was nice.

Don't get me wrong. I'm happy when Katie comes home with my boys. I love my family very much, and crave their company as much as I crave solitude. Still, I think it's necessary for me to clear my head sometimes. Solitude always does the trick. I'd be more balanced, I think, if I found time for quiet walks, or solitary moments. I haven't smoke a cigar in ages. That does it for me too, even though the smell turns me into something of a pariah.

I miss the Mississippi River. What I'd give to drive down to Crosby Farm Regional Park, and spend an afternoon walking along the river. Katie and I did this during our last visit home. It was blissful.

I suppose that's how I know that Katie and I are good together. Spending time with her recharges me as much as spending time alone. So I guess I should be careful about fetishing solitude too much. There's a place for it, but I'm happy to share my time with my wife too. There's an intimacy between us that allows me to share something as holy as an afternoon walk near the river with her.

Nothing profound here. I'm just happy to highlight a quiet, Saturday morning. It's nice to find a measure of peaceful solitude.