After nearly two decades of living in this world, I’ve begun window shopping alone. I can’t explain the wonderful feeling of being alone, but we all know how that’s like. Our lives are just so cluttered. Day after day we are weighed down by others, or even by ourselves. Too often, I think, we let others invade our individual space and time at our detriment. I can’t help but feel that many of us are voyaging through our lives for others. The older we grow, the more it seems that 24 hours of our days belong not to ourselves but are for us to be answerable to others’ demands. With all that work to do, all that obligations that are thrown upon us, all that unspoken things we have to be responsible for, how is it not that we lose our sense of life and direction?
There’s so much noise, they’re so pervasive. I try to read a book these days in silence and someone calls me to run an errand. I shut myself in a room and someone knocks on the damn door.
In many ways, shopping alone – actually, being alone – is symbolic of the freedom and independence that I’m seeking to establish over my self. And solitude is wonderful because that, to me, is a subtle fight that I’m putting up for my rightful space and time. It is so lovely to be young and free. Because for once I get to follow my heart and mind. For once my legs will bring me where my heart beckons, instead of where others command. I can walk at whatever speed pleases me, try on whichever piece of clothing I think worthy, lose my way in the gigantic labyrinthine mall and then re-find my way. I don’t have to give in to others, nor do others have to for me. Charlotte Bronte once wrote, “I’m no bird, and no net ensnares me.” What a pretty soul the bird has! It speaks very much to the heart of what solitude is. We become little birds, freed from our worldly obligations that can be so suffocating.
That is why, in my tender – I hope I’m still tender – years of youth I have taken to shopping in solitude unless I’m looking for some chatter and mingling. If that happens, I’ll ring up my friends and we’ll all go along and do the insane things teenagers do. Until then, I will treasure all the loneliness there is to be had. I think, just like wine, we all need a bottle of it in our lives. So, to whomever the waiter of life is, I say to him, “Hello, I would like to order a glass of solitude.”