This I Believe

Shaina - Santa Monica, California
Entered on June 19, 2007

Finding Loneliness

I believe people fear being alone and are terrified of the thought of spending time by themselves. Being alone leaves one with time to think – often, about oneself and one’s life. This type of self-analysis may reveal things that one may not be very pleased with. So on a day-to-day basis, I think most people prefer partying with friends or occupying themselves with some form of entertainment rather than spending time by themselves.

I believe in the benefits of solitude. Some may fearfully dismiss the concept of “alone time” while I seek it out impatiently. I often wonder with curiosity, if so many people avoid seclusion, how do they relax?

I find simple gifts in my time by myself. I take pleasure in these little experiences throughout the day. When I step onto an empty elevator and ride alone from the lobby to the sixteenth floor by myself, I exhale a sigh of joy and relief. Driving home at two a.m. on empty streets without a soul in sight brings me a particular sense of solitude. Having the apartment to myself without anyone else being home is always refreshing.

I often enjoy the lack of company. I like to sit completely immersed in thought to avoid being disturbed. I like to daydream. Though I find being with friends and people to be entirely enjoyable at times, I know myself to become easily annoyed and quite judgmental. I recall many social events in which it was necessary to take a small break from the social obligations to be alone for a moment to “regroup.” Solitude helps me to do that – to “regroup” or to achieve “peace of mind,” if only for a moment.

My tendency to enjoy solitude began from a young age. As a little girl, and an only child, I spent hours exploring the mountains and fields of Colorado by myself. And when I was not on a wild adventure, I colored and drew pictures – alone, pleasantly solitary.

The need to be constantly socially recognized still perplexes me. If you don’t go out on a Friday night even though there’s a party, what does that really say about you? If you can learn to appreciate the tranquility that accompanies solitude, and not instantly label being alone as “loneliness,” you might find a new sense of self-appreciation. Time alone can open your eyes.