What May Sarton taught me about embracing solitude

What I learnt from May Sarton on embracing solitude

“Solitude, like a long love, deepens with time, and, I trust, will not fail me if my own powers of creation diminish. For growing into solitude is one way of growing to the end.”

– May Sarton, The House By The Sea

The world isn’t designed for introverted, solitude loving people. For a long time, I thought there was something wrong with me, what with my hermity tendencies and my need for pockets of quiet time, especially after I’ve peopled.

Mixed media semi-abstract painting of a woman and flowers. May Sarton on solitude

Slowly, I’ve come to realize that maybe I’m just wired this way. That maybe, it’s ok to love my hermity self just as she is.

For this, I have May Sarton to thank. In her journals, I notice a pattern. Long stretches of alone time, sometimes punctuated by the occasional lunch meeting with a dear friend, interspersed with brief pockets of more active – almost extroverted – engagements and days. And I can see how she craves her solitude after these periods.

In her, I find a kindred spirit. Someone whose hermity tendencies match mine. Whose love for embracing solitude is perhaps equal to – or maybe even greater than – mine. Who helped me finally accept and work with {rather than berate} my own hermit self. Who helped me to finally embrace my own need for solitude.

I’ve also been wondering if this need for solitude, for quiet time, is something that we creatives have in common?

Do tell me in the comments!

pain palette

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I’m an artist and art educator, podcaster, tarot reader, and writer. I share my discoveries along the path to inspire you to live a more creative, soul-centered life. Receive my love letters for more of my musings on life and creativity. P.S. I love Instagram - join me there?


  1. I dont know about being a creative! But i do like my solitude and periods of introversion, more so as I have grown older, I have become more accepting of my own rhythm, also as I get older, I want more time off…or perhaps, I have more to do on my own where I am pretty engaged and don’t want intrusion of others?!

    • Both sound like good reasons to enjoy your solitude! And you are a creative — what do you call crotchet and wanting to make your journals pretty with stickers, and dabbling with paint from time to time? 🙂

  2. I could never understand myself until the pandemic hit. Over the last two years, I have seen I am comfortable being on my own, spending time alone and not having the pressure to step outside. I am an ambivert but this part of embracing solitude is something that I have begun to enjoy. Thanks for making me reflect with your post, Shinjini!

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  4. You’re an introvert. And there’s nothing wrong with that – the world only seems to be full of extroverts because they are boisterous and loud. And there is nothing wrong with that, either. What is wrong is to see each other as “lacking” because we are different. Introverts need solitude to recharge their batteries; extroverts get charged through social activities. It’s a spectrum. I’m close to the center, but firmly have both feet planted on the introvert side of the center line.

    At the start of the pandemic, I could feel a palpable anxiety coming off the extroverts I know. Lockdown must be terrible for them; for introverts, it’s often a grand excuse – a gift from the universe! On the other hand, we quickly learned that we love our solitude, but prefer it when it’s by choice. Maybe a few extroverts discovered the blessings of a little quiet down-time. At any rate, I think the world needs us all.

    • Oh I absolutely agree with that, Holly! The lockdowns have been difficult on the extroverts in my circle too. In fact, some of them have been pretty reckless too!

      I found the lockdown was, in many ways, a blessing for me. It really helped me understand myself so much better in so many ways.

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