I believe in the power of solitude. This means I not only enjoy being alone, but even embrace it wholeheartedly. However, by no means am I a hermit. I am a social creature with many friends and can converse quite candidly when called upon. There are those who proudly declare, “I always need people around me.” This statement both horrifies and confounds me. Interacting with people on a daily basis is more or less tolerable, but there comes a point during the day (usually around 5:00 pm) when I throw up my hands and declare, “I’m done for the day!”
Eight hours of talking, making eye contact, and general witty repartee exhaust me. This is why I believe in taking time each day—preferably chunks of hours—to be by myself. This doesn’t mean I sit in a corner and meditate while wisps of sandalwood incense curl above me. Rather, I’ll watch crappy TV, read Jacqueline Susann novels, and cook semi-successful meals. If my phone rings, I ignore it. The computer is left untouched, as email and instant messaging are other methods of communication I wish to avoid.
I’ve never had a bad experience with people in general. Perhaps I’m a little shy, sure, but no more than the average agoraphobic person. There are no misanthropic leanings that I am aware of. I just genuinely like being alone. The joy of reading a novel is often better than lunch with a friend. If it seems like this casual avoidance of friends and acquaintances could lead to a misunderstanding—it often does. Clear communication and the phrase “me time” always come in handy. And if that doesn’t work, explaining I have an extremely contagious case of bacterial meningitis will do the trick.
I feel invigorated, refreshed and relaxed after a straight twenty-four hours of non-socializing time. By the time I head back into the world of people, I’m actually glad to see them again. And they in turn are (usually) happy to see me.
People are over-stimulated these days. From sun up to sun down there is a constant barrage of words and pictures. It’s a cycle that needs to be broken before our senses deaden and no amount of flashy entertainment will amuse us. I encourage everyone who goes out every weekend to take the night off. Rent a horrible movie, eat trans fat-filled food, and rejoice in the reality of reclusiveness. You’ll be surprised at what good company you are.
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