The great stoic Seneca repeatedly urged his fellow Romans to retire in order to find themselves, as we might put it. In the Renaissance, as in ancient Rome, it was part of the well-managed life. You had your period of civic business, then you withdrew to discover what life was really about and to being the long process of preparing for death. Montaigne developed reservations about the second part of this, but there is no doubt about his interest in contemplating life. He wrote: Let us cut loose from all the ties that bind us to others; let us win from ourselves the power to live really alone and to live that way at our ease.
p. 29 - How to Live, or, A Life of Montaigne in one Question and Twenty Attempts at an Answer (2010)