NO MAN IS AN ISLAND? (CLUB PROMPT – GOING SOLO)

GOING SOLO IS SIMULTANEOUSLY ALMOST IMPOSSIBLE AND YET ABSOLUTELY INEVITABLE.

THE COMMON ACCEPTANCE OF THE TERM GOING SOLO CAN MEAN AN ADVENTURE. IT COULD BE A DIVORCE. GOING SOLO CAN MEAN STARTING A NEW BUSINESS INSTEAD OF WORKING FOR SOMEONE ELSE. GOING SOLO CAN BE A ROCK STAR BREAKING AWAY FROM A GROUP OR FLYING A PLANE FOR THE FIRST TIME ON YOUR OWN.

BUT THE QUESTION ARISES……HOW POSSIBLE IS IT TO REALLY TRULY GO SOLO? JOHN DONNE WROTE, “NO MAN IS AN ISLAND, ENTIRE OF ITSELF, EVERY MAN IS A PIECE OF THE CONTINENT.….” THIS HAS NEVER BEEN TRUER THAN IT IS TODAY IN THE WORLD OF SOCIAL MEDIA, THE INTERNET, AND VIDEO PHONE CALLS MOVING US ALL CLOSER TOGETHER WITH EVERY ADVANCE. PEOPLE HAVE A BASIC NEED FOR COMPANIONSHIP. IT’S THE REASON FOR WRITERS’ GROUPS AND QUILTING CIRCLES, THE REASON WE MARRY, AND THE REASON WE HAVE CHILDREN.

THE CHILDREN IN A FAMILY ONLY EVER KNOW THEMSELVES AS PART OF THAT FAMILY. MOTHERS/WIVES CAN’T WAIT TO TELL YOU ABOUT THEIR CHILD’S LATEST ACCOMPLISHMENT OR THEIR HUSBAND’S JOB PROMOTION. GRANDMOTHERS NEVER TRAVEL WITHOUT THEIR GRANDCHILDREN’S LATEST PICTURES. GRANDFATHERS ARE ALWAYS ANXIOUS TO IMPRESS THEIR EXPERIENCES ON THE YOUNGER GENERATIONS OF THE FAMILY.

ADULT CHILDREN MOVE OUT AND GO SOLO AND THIS IS AN EXPECTED RIGHT OF PASSAGE TO ADULTHOOD. WHEN MY OLDER SON WENT OFF TO COLLEGE HE WAS PLEASED TO BE ‘GOING SOLO.’ TOLD EVERYONE HE KNEW HOW GREAT IT WAS TO FINALLY BE ON HIS OWN! BUT YOU KNOW, THE COLLEGE PAIRS KIDS UP SO THEY’RE NOT ALONE. HE HAD A ROOMMATE ASSIGNED TO HIM FROM DAY ONE AND WHEN THEY MET THE 2 GUYS NEXT DOOR, THE FOUR OF THEM ENDED UP BEING ROOMMATES FOR THE ENTIRE TIME THEY PURSUED THEIR UNDERGRAD DEGREES. SO BASICALLY, HE LEFT OUR FAMILY AND WENT OUT AND MADE ANOTHER PLACE HE COULD BELONG RIGHT AWAY. BUT THE ROOMMATE PAIRING IS ANOTHER EXAMPLE OF SOCIETY HELPING TO AVOID THAT ‘MAN BEING AN ISLAND’ THING.

BUT WHEN LIFE INTERVENES AND SHUFFLES THE DECK, YOU CAN FIND YOURSELF FAR AWAY FROM THE FAMILY THAT IDENTIFIES YOU. SERVICEMEN MIGHT FIND THEMSELVES IN A WAR ZONE, JOB RELOCATION COULD PUT YOU IN A NEW PLACE, A STORM OR MECHANICAL ISSUE COULD STRAND YOU IN A FOREIGN CITY FOR A WHILE. IN THESE INSTANCES, YOU’RE GOING SOLO WITHOUT EVER MAKING THE DECISION TO DO SO. BUT ARE YOU TRULY SOLO EVEN AT THIS POINT? EVEN IN A STRANGE PLACE, YOU’RE STILL GOING TO HAVE TO FULFIL BASIC NEEDS LIKE FOOD, FUEL, UTILITIES, ETC. THAT WILL TAKE YOU INTO CONTACT WITH OTHER HUMAN BEINGS WHO CAN HELP YOU MEET THOSE NEEDS. WITH TODAY’S TECHNOLOGIES, YOU’RE STILL GOING TO BE ABLE TO SOMEHOW REACH YOUR FAMILY AND FRIENDS EVEN IF IT ISN’T RIGHT AWAY. YOU’RE NEVER REALLY TOTALLY CUT OFF FROM THE REST OF THE WORLD.

PEOPLE MARRIED FOR YEARS UPON YEARS BECOME ALMOST AS ONE. WHEN ONE SPOUSE DIES IT LEAVES THE OTHER ONE TO GO SOLO INTO A LIFE THEY NEVER ENVISIONED AND REALLY NEVER WANTED. IT’S THE CONTINUING CHALLENGE OF LIFE FOR THE ONE THAT IS LEFT TO PERSEVERE AND MOVE FORWARD GOING SOLO MAKING A NEW LIFE. BUT AGAIN, IS THE LEFT-BEHIND SPOUSE TRULY SOLO AT THIS POINT? CERTAINLY THERE IS OTHER FAMILY AND FRIENDS INVOLVED AND EVEN WITHOUT THAT STILL THAT PERSON HAS BASIC NEEDS TO FULFIL JUST TO LIVE THAT WILL TAKE THEM OUT INTO THE WORLD FOR FOOD, FUEL, UTILITIES, ETC. SO AGAIN, THOUGH THEY APPEAR TO BE SOLO AND MAY INDEED FEEL VERY SOLO……THEY ARE STILL CLIPPED ON AS PART OF THE WHOLE.

SOCIETY ISN’T REALLY SET UP FOR PEOPLE TO GO SOLO. TAKE ANY AMUSEMENT PARK, AIRPLANE, OR BUS LINE; THEY GENERALLY HAVE SEATS IN SETS OF 2 OR 3. VACATION PACKAGES SELDOM ADVERTISE TRIPS FOR JUST ONE PERSON. ….ALL THE BROCHURES HAVE PICTURES OF GROUPS OR COUPLES. SOCIETY SEEMS TO HAVE TROUBLE BELIEVING THAT ANYONE WOULD WANT TO BE THAT PROVERBIAL ISLAND OF WHICH DONNE SPEAKS.

SOCIALLY SPEAKING, THERE SEEMS TO BE A STIGMA OF SINGLE PEOPLE WITHIN GROUPS. GOING SOLO ISN’T REALLY AN OPTION AS PEOPLE TRY TO FIX YOU UP WITH “A NICE MAN” OR A “GOOD FRIEND” SO THEY DON’T FEEL AWKWARD HAVING THE “ODD MAN OUT” TO CONTEND WITH. IN THIS INSTANCE, THE PAIRING WITH ANOTHER MAY NOT MAKE YOU AN OLD MARRIED COUPLE, BUT IT EASES THE SOCIAL ANXIETY FOR THE OTHER PAIRED-UP COUPLES INVOLVED. BASICALLY, IT CREATES THE ILLUSION OF NO ONE BEING AN ISLAND.

SO HOW THEN IS GOING SOLO ABSOLUTELY INEVITABLE?

COMING INTO THIS WORLD AND LEAVING THIS WORLD ARE THE TWO TIMES WHEN A PERSON TRULY GOES SOLO. THEY’RE TWO TIMES THAT EVERY HUMAN MUST EXPERIENCE, BUT ALSO TIMES THAT REALLY CAN’T BE BORNE BY ANYONE BUT THE IMMEDIATE SUBJECT. INASMUCH AS WE SURROUND OURSELVES WHILE WE’RE HERE….FROM NEW PARENTS WAITING TO WELCOME A BABY TO THE WORLD, TO THE FAMILIES WE FORM AND THE FRIENDS WE MAKE, TO THE DAUGHTER SITTING BY HER MOTHER’S BED AS SHE LEAVES HER, IT IS INEVITABLE THAT THESE TWO JOURNEYS WILL BE OUR OWN INDIVIDUAL EXPERIENCE SHARED BY NO ONE ELSE. IT’S ALMOST AS IF WE KNOW THIS, FEAR THIS, AND TRY EVERY DAY TO CUSHION OURSELVES AGAINST THIS EVENTUAL TIME WHEN WE’LL ONCE AGAIN GO SOLO. GOING SOLO SHOULD NOT BE A FEAR. GOING SOLO IS A BRIDGE BETWEEN TWO WORLDS MUCH LIKE A BIRTH. IT IS, PERHAPS, NOT ALWAYS THE EASIEST WAY FORWARD, BUT DEFINITELY THE WAY THROUGH TO WHATEVER COMES NEXT.

COMING INTO THIS WORLD WE DON’T REMEMBER SO GENERALLY WE DISCOUNT THAT IN OUR CONSIDERATIONS. BUT, WE MAKE THE JOURNEY INTO THE WORLD ENTIRELY ALONE ONLY REALLY RECEIVING HELP AND COMFORT ONCE WE’RE HERE. THE PEOPLE WAITING TO WELCOME A NEW BABY SURROUND THAT BABY WITH BLANKETS, CLEAN CLOTHES, ETC. WE LOVE HIM AND HUG HIM AND NURTURE EVERY SINGLE BREATH HE TAKES REVELING IN HIS ARRIVAL. IN THE BEST OF WORLDS, A BABY ARRIVES AND IS NEVER TRULY ALONE AFTER HIS JOURNEY IN. BUT STILL….THERE WAS THAT JOURNEY IN. THAT WAS ALL HIS.

GOING SOLO INTO WHATEVER COMES NEXT IS THE FIRST TIME WE TAKE ALL THAT WE ARE AND EXPERIENCE SOMETHING NO ONE HERE WITH US HAS EVER DONE. IT IS THE MOMENT WHEN WE WILL FINALLY HAVE ALL THE ANSWERS TO THE UNIVERSE THAT WE’VE LIVED IN SO LONG, THE MOMENT WHEN ALL IS RESTORED TO US THAT WE’VE LOST ALONG THE WAY. GOING SOLO IN THIS MOMENT IS THE ULTIMATE JOURNEY OF EVERY INDIVIDUAL.

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