Today I want to talk about solitude. I feel like that word has a bad reputation. When it is evoked, images of sadness and isolation immediately come to the forefront. That being alone is some sort of curse. If a person chooses solitude, they are automatically considered to be in psychological distress. I’m not sure why this has come to be, but I feel people associate that word with prison life, where you can be placed in “solitary confinement”, which is, to say the least, a negative experience. Many books, movies, and TV shows have portrayed this reality as being the ultimate hell on earth, and it doesn’t take much for our brain to relate solitary confinement with solitude; they are almost homonyms. Then, when you add the fact that humans are social beings, it pushes the idea that solitude is unsuitable even further. But that’s not quite true.
If you’re like me, alone time is something you long for most of the time. Maybe it’s because I’m a writer but being by myself brings me peace. I will thoroughly enjoy spending time with family or friends; however, it never takes too long for me to feel like I’ve had enough. I don’t know where this reality took hold, but I remember that when I was a child, I would hide from others in creative spots to play with my matchbox cars alone. For a time that bothered me, it had me asking myself if I was normal if I was socially apt? Those questions lingered for a couple of years, creating some anxiety, but after a while, I came to the realization that I felt good being alone, and that was ok. My creativity thrives when in solitude. My discipline level is higher.
The feeling of freedom brought on by solitude makes me happy. Sometimes, I will go out and take a walk, or go to the grocery store, making sure I use an itinerary that no one could suspect. During those few minutes, the knowledge that not a single person on earth can know where I am brings a smile to my face. During those few minutes, I feel as free as a light breeze caressing the leaves on the trees during a hot summer day. The notion that no one could say where I am is one of the most freeing experiences I have had the pleasure to experience.
To finish, I’m not advocating that everyone become a solitary person, we are all wired differently. But if you have a friend that spends a lot of time alone, please don’t automatically assume they are in distress. If it’s true that someone in depression will isolate themselves, it’s not true that all solitary individuals are depressed. Keep in touch with your solitary friends by phone or text, they will appreciate the effort, and silently thank you for not inviting them somewhere. If they do fall into some depressed state, you will notice a difference; they will become even more isolated, won’t return calls or texts, disappear from social media. If that happens, please reach out to your solitary friend, but otherwise, be happy for them.
We are a minority, but we solitaires need out alone time. And if you are what I like to call a social butterfly, keep in mind you can also benefit from some alone time, it can be fulfilling, just try it.
Thanks for enduring my rant today, have yourselves a great week.