This I Believe

Shaina - Santa Monica, California
Entered on June 19, 2007
Age Group: Under 18
  • Podcasts

    Sign up for our free, weekly podcast of featured essays. You can download recent episodes individually, or subscribe to automatically receive each podcast. Learn more.

  • FAQ

    Frequently asked questions about the This I Believe project, educational opportunities and more...

  • Top Essays USB Drive

    This USB drive contains 100 of the top This I Believe audio broadcasts of the last ten years, plus some favorites from Edward R. Murrow's radio series of the 1950s. It's perfect for personal or classroom use! Click here to learn more.

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.