There is a lot of pressure these days to be social….constantly. I think we may be losing the valuable art of contented aloneness. Whatever happened to being able to be happily by ourselves without the constant feedback and reassurance of others ? It’s so important to be able to feel alone without feeling lonely.
I do understand that circumstances can determine how we feel about solitude. I remember a time many years ago when I was feeling very alone and solitude was a double edged sword. Even as a child I had loved being alone and yet when it was forced upon me I felt more lonely than anything else. It ended up being a very important time for me and set the groundwork for my appreciation now of my family and friends. It drew me back into the world.
Loneliness is very different to alone time and I think we may have been getting those confused.
I have noticed that lots of people tell me that they would kill for a day to themselves and when it comes they do things like spend it at the shopping mall surrounded by thousands of strangers. I actually know a few people who have recently deleted their facebook or twitter accounts because they felt like it was all getting a bit out of control and taking up way more time that it deserved. I particularly fear for the young ones amongst us who are comforted by their 1000 facebook “friends”. True friends are often hard to come by – treasure them, make time for them.
Don’t get me wrong, I like facebook – it’s a great way to keep in touch and is certainly a valuable way for me to get information out to my clients and friends but lets not confuse looking at peoples photos and hearing about how they spent their weekend with true friendship.
I am an unashamed solitude seeker. Don’t get me wrong, I love my friends, adore my family and really like talking to people about all sorts of things but if there isn’t enough alone time I can start to feel tetchy, spread thin and less able to enjoy the social interaction when it comes. I need that space to clear my head, feel a relief from all the stimulation, to regroup. I am definitely a better person to be around when I have had enough of not being around.
It’s such a blessing to spend a day quietly, happily alone, out in the world or in my garden or with a good book. Allowing the space for idle thoughts to turn into useful ideas, for some reflection about how you actually want to be in the world, even to just stop talking for a while.