When she wrote these words, Virginia Woolf was discussing what conditions she felt were necessary for a woman to be a writer of fiction. But fiction writer or not, I’m a firm believer that all women (and men!) need some sort of quiet space in a home to call their own; a quiet retreat where they can find room for creating, or relaxing, or watching the madness go by. (below: Virginia Woolf)
I’ve personally always held dear the ability to earn money and spend it or save it as I see fit. I’ve worked hard all my life, as most of us do. Probably because I was a single parent for many years, those were hard-earned accomplishments that I cherish to this day. I've always thought it was very important to know oneself, and to be comfortable in one’s own skin before one can be happy with others. (below: Virginia Woolf's room, Monk's House)
Now, I love my friends, but even as a very young person, I always recognized that aside from a social side, I had a strong instinct for seeking out solitude. Don't you think that sometimes, "the world is too much with us?" From cell phones and blackberries, to jobs that follow us back to our homes, to families, to commitments in our personal lives, I find great solace in knowing that when life gets overwhelming, I can retreat to a quiet refuge, in efforts to find that sense of serenity and balance again. I think we all need that balance at times, but we don't all always get it. For me, that retreat to solitude helps me be happier with others again. (below: painting by Vanessa Bell, Virginia Woolf's sister)
I am grateful that I live at a time when women have many more choices than our ancestors had. It’s still not easy, (and in some ways, it's far more difficult today) but I still think we are fortunate to have more opportunities than women in the past.
“Life for both sexes—and I look at them, shouldering their way along the pavement—is arduous, difficult, a perpetual struggle. It calls for gigantic courage and strength. More than anything, perhaps, creatures of illusion that we are, it calls for confidence in oneself.” (-Virginia Woolf)