Again, I have things I need to be doing. I’m supposed to be writing a killer feature from my interview with Munaf Rayani of Explosions in the Sky (let me just pick that name right up off the ground) for Skinnie Magazine but I am no where near the right mindset to be doing that.
See, right now is the first time in a few days that I have been able to truly indulge in Alone Time. My solitude is one of the most valuable things to me. If I don’t get it for at least 30 minutes a day, I start to get crabby. We’re talking.. really crabby. Like super sassafras, don’t-get-in-my-way-or-I’ll-snip-you crabby. I’m not wholly sure why, but my daily time to unwind and reflect on the day’s events has always been necessary.
I tried to think back on reasons why this might be the case. I tried to look to my childhood to find an explanation. Let’s see.. my dad worked a lot, and my sister was always out with friends, so maybe I just got used to being alone at home? Maybe it’s because I’ve always been writing and I can only do that if I have complete isolation? I’m not sure what exactly was the basis, but I did a little bit of research on forums online and other websites, and found some interesting things.
First, this is something that is common in “only children” who move in with other people or get out into the world. They often need Alone Time because this is something they had been used to when growing up. Second, I found some stuff about how astrology comes into play. Whatever, skipped that. Third, I found a few lists on why Alone Time is precious and necessary.
Some of the reasoning I found includes:
01. Relaxing your brain
– Being alone totally relaxes you because no one else is really relying on you, so you can truly focus on yourself. You can stop thinking about what other people need from you and start thinking more about what you need from yourself, what you want to change about yourself, what you want to do with your life, etc.
02. Relaxing your body
– Being alone means I can veg out and no one can stop me, and I can wear my ugly booty shorts and no bra, with no one to judge me. Plus, I can only meditate alone, and I know a lot of people are the same way. I actually meditated for the first time in many years the other night and I pretty much had an out-of-body experience that I was walking around Downtown Reykjavík and it was snowing and awesome. I felt relaxed for the first time in months.
– You can learn a lot about yourself when you are alone, because you aren’t influenced by others. You can learn what you like or dislike, what you truly feel about certain issues without other biases coming into play.
04. Higher self-esteem
– Supposedly, if you are able to enjoy your own company and be more independent, your self esteem is raised a little bit. I don’t know how true this is, but it sounds pretty reasonable. My self-esteem with myself as a person is pretty secure, so there could be a correlation.
05. No need to compromise
– Life is full of compromising, but when you’re alone, you can do whatever the hell you want, whenever the hell you want. I can be a pushover a lot of the time (or, I’m just not the “Alpha,” as my roommate says) so it’s nice to be able to say, “Hah! I do what I want.”
06. Greater appreciation for loved ones
– I guess, distance makes the heart grow fonder, so if you distance yourself from everyone, you’ll realize how much you love them. Plus, if you find yourself really, really boring for some reason (that sucks), being around people will be all the more enjoyable when you come around to doing it again.
I mean, I agree with some of these, sure. I’m mostly in it for the relaxing of my brain and the lack of need to compromise, because everyone is so ‘me me me’ these days that it’s hard to get a word in without being bombarded with more “Well I..”s and ‘Actually, my…”s. Plus, when I’m alone, I like to research things online, find new music, maybe watch movies, whatever I feel like doing. Alone Time makes me smarter.
Then, on these websites, a lot of them said to schedule 5-15 minutes alone with yourself daily. Uhhh. Cómo se dice… what? Okay, I need like, 5 hours alone. I know this might be ludicrous, but that’s for a full recharge. By the first half hour, my mood is lifted tenfold, but a few hours in, I’m fully indulging in the greatness of silence and writing and reading and really, whatever I want.
This brings me to one more thing, and that is about people who don’t like Alone Time. The only thing I really want to ask these people is, “What are you hiding from yourself?” It seems like people who constantly need to spend time with others are using others to build themselves up, instead of finding it on their own. Some people have told me that they are terrified of Alone Time. They get lost in their thoughts, and subsequently, overwhelmed. I don’t understand. This is supposed to happen so you can sort these things out. I know it’s common knowledge that “bottling things up only leads to eventual explosion” in regards to emotions, but I find that to be the opposite. If I can sit alone for a few hours and think about things, I figure them out far better and far faster and in a far clearer manner than if someone were to help me, or worse, distract me from these thoughts.
Either way.. I’m sorry Gretchen Rubin but I think your theory is B.S. After every break up I have ever had, being alone was what made me feel better, not the pointless outings with friends that were just blaringly obvious distractions. Anyway, that “big burst of energy” you feel when you finally are around other people is what the other e-philosophers were talking about when they said “you’d appreciate people more.” Just dig it, man.
I realize that this just ended up being a drunken-man-in-a-bar rant, but I feel better, and anyway, I think H.D.T. sums it up best:
“I love to be alone. I never found the companion that was so companionable as solitude.”
– Henry David Thoreau