This I Believe

Toni - Rockford, Michigan
Entered on January 21, 2008

Humans were inevitably fashioned for various degrees of interaction, and I, being a human, do not mind conditional communication and human contact. Before continuing any further, I need to fervently deny being an abnormal recluse, and am not on any verge of being so. I would, however, like to begin the iteration of my appreciation of solitude. Without essential solitude, introspective, psyche-sculpting thought, the kind that enhances the intellectual awareness and simple verve that becomes so easily buried under our daily routines, is impossible. This I believe.

When somebody asks me what I did over the weekend, I’m not about to state, “I was lonely all weekend, since nobody called me,” (partially because it is a rare occasion, and partially because it sounds like an utterly pathetic attempt to fish for compliments) without expecting somewhat feigned sympathy and an apology, sometimes accompanied by an explanation of why they themselves had not given me a call. When one has friends, any prolonged longing for seclusion confuses others and is labeled as an unwholesome stigma that only the anti-social could appreciate. It confounds me that the word ‘loneliness’ has such a negative connotation when it is something that I strive for as desperately as a salmon would battle upstream rapids. But the bear of human interaction persists to wrench me from the stream of solitude by my caudal fin with its inescapable claws, as school and my job and my friends and my family continually demand my attention.

The aforementioned obstacles make it difficult for me to ascertain an acceptable level of solitude, but I’ve discovered ways to overcome them. I value solitary car rides most out of these ways – I believe them to be among the most productive and socially acceptable ways to accomplish solitude. Thought provoked during car rides – long ones, preferably – is enhanced by the fact that music is so readily assessable in a car; cerebral contemplation can be instantly transformed into abstract and emotional musing in the mere presence of music. Another occasion in which cogitation eagerly knocks on my hippocampus is, not surprisingly, nighttime. In fact, sleep is, more often than not, prevented by my mind’s memories, usually those photocopied from the day before.

The only habitat in which my mind can produce beneficial and meditative thought is solitude, and it is in solitude that I thrive. I adore my close friends for multiple reasons: they withstand my intermittent, pathetic refusals to hang out, and, without them, I would be unable to appreciate solitude nearly as much as I do. But is it so outlandish for me to desire, perhaps, a week in which they could pause their summons?