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Alone in the natural world, I felt alive again

<span>‘Starting again, I wanted to shed my skin and regenerate. I became comfortable with spending long periods alone.’</span><span>Photograph: Zbynek Pospisil/Getty Images</span>
‘Starting again, I wanted to shed my skin and regenerate. I became comfortable with spending long periods alone.’Photograph: Zbynek Pospisil/Getty Images

Re Jade Angeles Fitton’s article (A moment that changed me: my partner drove off and left me – and in solitude I found my self-confidence, 27 March), if I bothered to count up the time I have spent alone, it would likely be more than in a relationship.

My first ended two years too late; we ate away at each other’s self-esteem until I left. Years followed during which my body clock was ticking, and I yearned for a family to call my own. When it finally came, that was no easy journey with a man 10 years younger than myself and unsure of parenthood, but determined to stay with me.

When signs of strife and strain increased between us and he declared he did not love me, he left me with our 14-month-old son. It took some time to admit that my subsequent grief was for him as well as the loss of the “family dream”. Being a single parent compounded my grief and anxiety; at my lowest point, I could see myself in a black box, trapped and alone.

A move to a rural part of town that had direct access to hills and woodland enabled me to start to rebuild my sense of self. Starting again, I wanted to shed my skin and regenerate. I became comfortable with spending long periods alone.

Jade’s experience resonates as I too would spend time staring at nature. Sunsets mostly, living where I do. Watching the change in light and density of scarlet streaking across a wide sky. Listening to rain lash at my window at night or bird song as light stretches into a new dawn. Feeling utterly alive again. No longer afraid, but living in my “safe place”, as Jade puts it.

I am a very physical person, and having spent large amounts of time not exercising my sexual desire, I am happily making up for it now. I would not choose to be alone again, but I am stronger in the knowledge that I have a safe place should I need it – and, given the impermanence of all things, I will need it, and that’s OK. I’ll just get lost in the wild again. Thank you, Jade, for sharing your experience.
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