These Things I Know

My life is probably not what most would choose. But it is my life. Of my choosing.

“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference.” – Robert Frost

I spend most of my time alone.

Well, not truly alone. Abi and Charlie are always here with me. That is company enough for me.

 

I go days, sometimes a week or more, without talking to a soul.

I spend my time writing blog posts and reading books and, in the winter, tending to my house plants.

I spend a lot of time taking photos of my surroundings.

I’ve learned that life is what you make of it. But even more importantly, it is how you feel about what you made of it.

In fact, happiness is not so much about success. But what we consider success.

For some it might be wealth. For others it might be true love. For many it could be family.

But no one else can make you happy. Took me years to grasp that.

I believe that happiness is based on the little things. The things others might ignore.

It is rain drops pinging on tree leaves.

The sky at dusk, when the imprint of stars begin to appear.

It is the squared glimpse of nature outside your window.

“Folks are usually about as happy as they make their minds up to be.” ― Abraham Lincoln

It is the tiny things that are always there. But these things become gifts only when we pause to look and listen. When we decide to enjoy them.

Happiness is a decision.

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47 Comments

  1. You and I are kindred spirits Brenda. I too live alone and unfortunately no longer have a fur baby. I spend most of my time in my bedroom as I have advanced osteoporosis which is quite painful. I do try to meet with friends for dinner once a week and it drives me nuts how their phones are part of the place settings! I look forward to your blog everyday, thank you?

  2. Very well said Brenda! Life is what YOU make it!! I love solitude but I do have meetings with friends occasionally. I do have to get out some with my job and meet people but I come home to solitude and my soul is at peace! I love your insights and love to see those precious doggies of yours. I am surrounded by my kitties when I am at home. My husband is usually downstairs so I rarely see him. It works for us!! LOL! Have a great week and I look forward to hearing from you again!

  3. I know you pretty well, Brenda, and happily so–your lifestyle says a lot about your animal/plant/home loving self! Many of us go through life never appreciating the very obvious joys around us. You don’t.

    I sound like a whirling dervish, but I do carve out time, even days, alone. Last summer was huge, in that I stayed at my lakehouse for weeks on end alone. It’s pretty quiet during the week, and surrounded by woods and water. And yeah, I only spoke to Milo and Layla, and the occasional neighbor or friend who stopped by. It was a balm for my soul. Don’t mistake this sabbatical for not loving my husband or family, it was just what I needed at the time. And I will continue to do so.

    Sending hugs,

    Jane

  4. I once stitched a cross-stitch sampler that said: “Happiness is Homemade” and that about sums it up for me. You make your own happiness by what you choose to focus on, I believe.

    Sweet photos of your pupsters. Dogs are good company, especially for those of us who lean a bit toward reclusiveness.

  5. Lincoln’s quote on happiness is a favorite of mine too.
    and it’s heartening to see so many others here in this community of women who love a simple life and who value their solitude. it’s such a lovely way to live.
    and the more crowded and chaotic and noisy the world becomes the more important it seems to be to me. it’s like air and water. necessary for my life!

  6. Hi Brenda-
    First time I’ve commented but I am a long time reader. Totally get that you enjoy your time alone at home. Me too. My children are grown now, I have a large and loving extended family and i am 5 years divorced after a long marriage. When my youngest finally went off to college and I was really ‘alone’ I thought I would panic and not know what to do, but it’s been fabulous! I am a bit younger and still work full time in a job with lots of face time with people/customers, and it meets a lot of my need to be with people. I have friends i see occasionally, but have come to love my privacy and ‘down time’. I feel hopeful and excited about my personal future, and being in solitude has allowed me to really dream about what comes next.

  7. I have a feeling that many of us in blogland…not all, but many…are introverts. I’m definitely an introvert and most of my family are too with the exception of my daughter. Blogging is a way of connecting with other people without actually having to leave our house and we can be comfortable and quiet while we are posting, reading or commenting.
    I’m not sure extroverts totally “get” us. I remember my grandmother telling me to speak up or be more outgoing around people. She didn’t understand that was just who I was. Oh to be sure, I can be as chatty as an extrovert if I choose to and sometimes I do, but most often I’m content to just be quiet. I love my mostly quiet, simple life.
    Great post, Brenda, I could have written a good deal of it but not nearly as well as you!
    Cheryl

  8. Branda,

    This is so very true, happiness is something different to us all. Some people love to be out and about with tons of friends and family, some people enjoy their solitude and their pets and for others it is someone in-between. I think life and age make us realize that we need different things at different times in our lives.

    I hope that you are feeling better! Thank you so much for all of your help with the blogging information, you were more than generous.

  9. I love alone time, it’s when I can read in the quiet, do my art without noise or interuptions, or play the keyboard making musical mistakes and all. I don’t ever feel lonely, altho I say that because my husband is usually here with me. Altho, when he goes up North fishing with the guys, or even before he retired, and he went out of town for business, I loved staying home alone. I didn’t (still don’t) go out shopping, or out for lunch with the girls. I just do my thing at home, loving it..oh, with the cat too, I guess that is not being alone after all, with her at my side pretty much all the time, or on the desk here, messing up papers or knocking stuff off the shelves, where some rubber stamps are stored. (grin) Very good topic Brenda, thanks again, love your posts. Bonnie in WI

  10. Sometimes we think we’re the only ones who feel or think a certain way. Blogging has made me realize how far from the truth that is, as witnessed by how many of your readers relate to what makes you happy, Brenda. The more I learned about being an introvert, the more I realized that I did not need to try to become an extrovert, that being an introvert was not only okay, it was simply wonderful! Now I celebrate it. Wish I could have learned that when I was a teenager.

    As always, your post today made us think and appreciate our own uniqueness, as well as your own.

  11. I love alone time and peacefulness. As I get older I hate drama. I do colored pencil art and spend hours sketching and shading colors for the right blend. I have loving family but they have busy lives. So did I at one time. I am very happy and satisfied with my life. Loved your comments today.

    1. I’ve always wanted to try that. I don’t know if I have the patience for colored pencil art. I’d love to see some!

  12. I am SO happy to see that others feel this way, because I do, too. I’ve always been a bit of a “loner” but since I’ve retired I will go stretches where I “talk” to no one (unless you count email and Facebook occasional posts and comments) for weeks, other than perhaps during routine errands or appointments, and I don’t go out for lunches, shopping with the girls, etc. the way I used to when I was still working. These days I may have brief interactions with a bus driver, a fellow passenger waiting for a bus, the clerks at the local supermarket where I’ve shopped for close to 30 years now, my mailman, a few of my neighbors. I don’t miss being around people, or interacting much with them. It seems I have always had a tendency to live more internally and don’t want or need to socialize with others. Perhaps getting older just makes some things clearer, especially as you realize you are ticking downward in your life – inevitably – and I just don’t want to be bothered having to deal with people that I don’t much like and at this stage of my life, I don’t have to – and am so grateful for that! Geez, I sound like a real curmudgeon, don’t I. Truer words were never spoken, nobody else can make you happy, it comes from within yourself.

    1. You are very wise. I think this introspection comes from someone who spends a lot of time thinking. So many people have to do and go and go and do. I couldn’t do that. I need time to just think. There are many of us who feel this way. Nothing wrong with being a loner.

  13. Beautiful post, great reflections. I feel sorry for people who have to be on the go all the time. I guess it takes all kinds, diversity is good. I once read a verse that said, ” we have not been given a good life or bad life. We have been given a life. It is up to us to make it a good life or a bad life.”
    I have a close friend who has had a hard life, she recently told me that she takes responsibility for it, she said she made a lot of bad choices. I admire her honesty and also that she was not blaming others. We have been friends since 2nd grade and are now both grandmothers and it is true, she did make a lot of bad choices.

    1. We’ve all made mistakes. We’ve all made bad choices. It’s just part of life. Nothing to be ashamed of. If you don’t make mistakes, you don’t learn.

  14. AMEN! Brenda!!!!
    I can count my friends on 1 hand.
    Like you,the majority of my time is spent with my 2 kitties, my kids are both 15 minutes away but they both work full time and my grandsons activities take up a lot of my son’s time…..
    I have no tolerance for drama and since it seems to be everywhere, I’ll take my “hermit-like” lifestyle anytime!
    Great pictures!!!!

  15. My reaction to what you shared here today is to feel peace. Perhaps I am not the odd man out after all. It seems that I am in good company in choosing to notice and marvel at nature and the joy of a peaceful day with birdsong and simple joys such as a good book to read while resting in a comfy chair. I have creative interests. I choose the path that best suits me whenever I can. I have enough family and friends to keep me healthy. As I grow older, I seem to need less of most everything.

  16. Yes, I was just thinking the same thoughts yesterday. I love my life, my solitude, and the hours and days easily pass by. I do have friends, and do enjoy an occasional social occasion, but rarely have company. I really do not mind. I have a good life.

  17. Oh Brenda I love how you have such a creative eye looking at your space and then sharing it with your readers. Some people can’t see what beauty is under their noses and are inpatient in finding any peace. Like you, I have made a decision that I do not have to be around people all the time. My two dogs (one a pup I got myself for Christmas), my home, and my work fill my heart everyday. I have sought out the company of a few friends, mostly long term but a few new, who bring quality to my life when we share. Thank you for sharing and supporting beliefs we share.

  18. Good Morning, Brenda-
    I can relate to a lot of alone time. I am an artist, and have been accused of being a ‘hermit.’ I meet for lunch with a friend on occasion or my husband and I will head out together, but I do spend a great deal of my time in ‘self projects’.
    Not meaning this in a critical way, but rather just my statement of thought, I think connecting with others has a necessary part in our remaining healthy. I can tend to become very absorbed in my own thoughts, while being with others opens us up to different points of view as well as feeling a part of this net called ‘Life’. We are all needed in some way. I have often looked at it this way; we are like strands within a length of rope that make up the net. If one of the strands starts to fray, the others must be brought closer to it, together and retied, such that the net as a whole doesn’t become weak in that spot.
    You are an artist of words, and we all enjoy reading your posts. For artists see this world in a little different dimension and therefore open the window for others to take a look!
    Bless you in the New Year!

  19. Hi Brenda, I so agree with you! Now that I am older I can’t handle the crazy stuff of life but do enjoy nature and being by myself more. I enjoy quilting, reading and peaceful music. I also enjoy painting furniture. The creative bug came out much later in life for me and that is where I find peace and my happy place! Enjoy your day!

    1. I was more creative, in terms of crafts and quilts, when I was in my thirties. Now I mainly love to write and take photos.

  20. Love the beautiful new “Look”….. and this is a “oh so true” post….. I do not mind at all living alone… I have family close by… and we are close … love having my grandchildren over … and all that goes with having a family… But I choose to be happy… Joyful in my own home surrounded by rooms that are filled with me …. daily … Life truly is a journey … enjoy it!!! Thank you Brenda !!!!

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