On Solitude and Solidarity

Last week, NPR released a great piece by Linda Holmes about going on a road trip alone and I am in love with it.

In my experience, my love of alone time can be off putting for some people, but for others  it can be a perfect conversation starter. How funny it is that relating to the craving for solitude can be an entry point into a social interaction. I’ve made many a relationship from this mutual love and respect for time alone. I’ve had boat loads of conversations about fun things to do while alone and I love it when other people can enjoy these ideas with me rather than giving me side ways glance that says, “are you sure you have friends?”

I think Linda’s post was so inviting to me because I could completely relate to her thoughts.   I immediately feel connected to this author for doing something that I find extremely valuable and freeing. It also made me consider why I find my alone time so essential. So here are five reasons I think being alone is truly wonderful.

1. Reflection.  Being alone gives you time to reflect on your day, your experiences, your relationships, and your troubles. It gives you the time and space to problem solve. It’s great to have input from outside sources when you are trying to make a decision or resolve an issue, but ultimately most decisions (that involve your life) come down to you.

2. Independence. It’s important and healthy to have friends, but no matter who you meet in life, the depressing truth is that we all die alone. I think that as much as it is healthy to have friendships and relationships, it is also necessary and healthy to be independent.

3. Carpe Diem. If you waited for friends to do things every time you wanted to go on a new adventure, you might miss out. Make sure that you seize every moment, and suck the marrow out of life. Don’t wait around for other people to want to do all the interesting and unique things you want to do, take a chance and go for it.

4. Some things just can’t be appreciated with other people. For example: reading, deep sleeping, day dreaming, internet trolling (although this can be a fun group activity), nature walks (they just aren’t as peaceful in a group), running… and so many more. Check out this post by Grace Cassidy on things to do alone for inspiration.

5. It’s how you get to know yourself. You can’t learn to love yourself if you don’t know yourself and when you are always with other people it gets difficult to hear your own voice. Seek out your voice and your most truthful thoughts. Get to know how you feel about things and how you appreciate the world around you.

Take some time to relax and think, get some clarity on your life and your loves this week, and learn to embrace some solitude.




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