Life in my tiny cubicle offers very few opportunities for solitude. I am never alone in the office. There are teachers, students, cleaners, laborers and administrative staff that constantly roam in and out the office, some lingering longer than others, as they make their way from cubicle to cubicle. There is constant chatter in Tagalog, Hindi, Arabic and exotic versions of English that I struggle to comprehend. I make a concerted effort to avoid conversations in the office. Yet, when people address me I respond in a pleasant and helpful manner. I enjoy chatting with my students and colleagues outside of the office, in the classroom, at the canteen, or in the staff lounge, but I want my solitude in my cubicle. This way I can complete all my tasks quickly without interruptions, so that I am free to do as I please.
I usually spend one weekend a month alone. This is my solitude. I get up early, prepare breakfast and tea and I reflect about what I would like to accomplish during the weekend. Then, I write a list of things to do in my notebook and then I start my day. I work in my garden, watch a movie, do the laundry, iron the clothes, study German, go grocery shopping, prepare food, practice yoga, do crossword puzzles, go jogging or for a long walk in the evening. I do the things enjoy. It is important to have a relaxing weekend from time to time, free from family obligations, dinner engagements or other prearranged activities. This helps me to catch up on my hobbies and personal interests. I appreciate this down time with myself.
Now, here is my photo interpretation of solitude.
Finally, here is my take on bliss.