The air of solitude and the weight of loneliness

Walking trail near my house

What is the difference between loneliness and solitude?

I’ve been acquainted with both lately.

Loneliness has weight and texture. It is heavy on your shoulders and piercing between your eyes.

It is itchy and impatient.

Loneliness is achingly silent, a restless quiet that inspires screaming. Crying. Assuming, judging, complaining, overreacting.

Loneliness is agitation with coworkers. Impatience with children. Cereal for dinner. Loneliness is both restless and inactive. It is forgetting who and what can help you. Loneliness is internalizing external circumstances in a way that makes it very difficult to be productive or passionate.

Solitude, on the other hand… Continue reading


At what age are we really adults?

Dad and me, ca. 1978

I wonder if I’ll one day reach an age when I no longer have “oh my gosh, I’m an adult” moments. I’ll be 34 on Saturday. As I type it, it feels mature. But I still have sharp flashes of that feeling from time to time, like I can’t believe I’ve gotten here by myself, without being instructed by an actual grown-up.

Checking into a hotel alone.

Writing notes to my daughter’s teacher.

Speaking at a conference.

Repairing something with tools.

The list used to be longer, though. Continue reading

Who dares send flowers to a gardener?


Only the very brave give flowers to a gardener. This is too bad.

I understand the hesitation. It would be like cooking dinner for a chef or praying for a priest. Did you know therapists go to therapists who specialize in dealing with therapists? It must be horribly intimidating to send flowers to a woman who grows a yard full of them.

Continue reading