The Perils of Hermiting


Spent the afternoon in the garden today, taking out more plants that are springing up in the beds here at Gladmer and moving them to the permanent garden over on Halifax I’m calling “Short Meadow”.  I love my new bedroom.  Even if it’s just plywood and drywall.

So I’m having two strange conflicting struggles in my mind right now that I’m focusing on.  One is the fact that I haven’t had a relationship with my mother for about four years now.  I walked out of a conversation in her home that to me felt more like something you should be hearing from a needy girlfriend than your mother, and even though I tried reaching out a few weeks ago to re-initiate some kind of a relationship with her, the idea of phoning her to start a conversation just makes me feel like I can’t cross that bridge again.  Life has to be about making positive decisions, even if that means cutting people close to you loose because they create more negativity in your life.  I just never saw it this way.  Trying to focus on the things I can control, the things that have value:  work, gardening, contemplation, my dog, my health.

The second strange conflicting struggle has to do with someone I met, but didn’t actually meet.  The social media world is one strange place.  When I chose to go hermit, that is, to retreat from any participation in “community” bigger than the small (very small) group of friends and family, I did it with the intention of trying to improve the quality of relationships in my life…who am I kidding.  I did it because the idea of interacting with people threatened me.  Very recently I walked away, luckily, from a bad “trip” in Saskatoon.  Just when I think I’m able to step out, to risk letting someone get to know me, I end up choosing a nut.  I seem to be good at that!

Which brings me to the struggle.  Gentleman accepted a friend request a few days ago.  He seems to meet a lot of the bells and whistles that I go for.  I’ve never actually met the guy, this is all via social media we’re looking at this.  My dilemma is this:  do I introduce myself, and suggest we grab a coffee and get to know each other better (because clearly I’d like to know him better), or do I sit back, turtle, and contemplate that every guy I’ve made eyes on in the last year or so has ended up being a visitation to the crazies?

It’s very easy to get caught up in the romance of solitude, especially when you throw a spin of philosophy and theology onto it.  Gardening is a passion that has really touched me in so many ways, but the yard has to have a gate, a way out, and a way for people to get in.  I’ve started writing three or four times now, little messages about how I think he’s a nice guy and if he’s got the time and the inclination, I’d like to get to know him better.  Each time I hit delete or turn off the computer because it feels needy, or it feels contrived; it’s lacking confidence!

Here I am, 43 years old closing on 44, and feeling about 15 years old.

The risk is planting the seed, seeing what grows.  If it doesn’t come up?  It doesn’t come up.  Merely turn the soil and try again.  With a seed it’s so much easier.  These interactions with human beings….being lonely isn’t always a good thing.

The Perils of Hermiting

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