Solitude | a creative essay by Atinuke Popoola

– Photo Credits: Kentake

Work is my default mode. Meetings are ever persistent. I’m a lover of action. Activities crowd my days. All of these claw at me ruthlessly. “It’s called living,” I tell myself.

Another bright day yet again. Not that I noticed, just a fact lurking in my mind… if the sun rises every morning, every day must be bright. I zoomed off to work, greeted by same loads of paperwork on my desk. I spoke to them like they could hear: “How did you manage to stay put after all the hours I put in?” But no one heard that… not even the desk. I signed up for this and I enjoy what I do; but sometimes, the crazy kicks in. All right, I take that back. Most times.

After a long blur, I got back to my precious four walls. My gracious abode. Starving for an overdue rest when I heard the knocks. Great music to my ears—coming from a mob, I’m sure. I opened the door, and they trooped in. Not a mob after all; they look like my friends. Their relentless chatter stole the last nerve.

And then… Quiet. Silence. I’m alone. Left to hear my thoughts, listen to my own voice, and ponder on life bombardments. Musings. Draw my creative strength. Stare at nothing without making a freak show. Meditate, read a book, take a walk, grab the paint, sing a song… and even imagine myself deliberately soil the whole paperwork back at the office with paint (and of course, that’s one imagination that ends in my head)… and then, I close my eyes. Solitude keeps me sane.

True friendship is a gift. A wonderful treasure wrapped with ceaseless wonder. Companionship is great. The presence of people make us feel alive. But you have to enjoy solitude to cherish companionship and friendship. Alone, but not lonely.

There is a thin line between solitude and loneliness. Thin and fragile. But like a saying goes “You cannot be lonely if you like the person you are with.” It’s important to slow down and simply be… before the real world and after the real work. He who knows how to be quiet is close to God. In solitude, God whispers in a noisy world.
Atinuke Popoola is an artist and a creative writer. She is a graduate of Psychology from the University of Ibadan. She keeps an art blog at

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