I believe in Solitude

Sarah - Royersford, Pennsylvania
Entered on March 13, 2008
Age Group: 18 - 30

I live in a world of noise. There is a constant buzz from the distant Philadelphia, from the crowds of people, from the lines of traffic. And while I love the activity, the busy excitement of the buzz, it is easy to lose myself. I find myself in need of moments of cool blue alone to reel myself back in. That is why I believe in the importance of solitude.

College life is inherently loud and distracting with constant noise and people. When I feel myself slipping into the tides, I take myself away from the loud distraction. I take some time to myself, to read, to write, to think, to play music, to dance, take a walk—moments of emotional fresh air and reminders of self. And after it is said and done, and I have had some time, I feel more like myself than before—livelier, more assured, more at peace. I know it sounds strange, but I believe in and rely on these moments of alone.

It is not that I relish in isolation or retraction from the world. I love the hectic, frantic youth that we all take part in and seems to symbolize this stage in our lives. I love the people, the hustle and bustle of the city we sit on the edge of. I am fortunate to have true and wonderful friends. They often provide the advice from a different perspective that I can’t offer myself. But I learned a long time ago about the magic of balance: the balance between the fast-tracked outside world and the steadiness of my inside world, the balance between a self that shines with other and the self kept inside the secret layers.

The magical balance is one I feel enhances and allows me to appreciate what I already have. I have a full and busy life, which I enjoy. However, this is balanced by the time of quiet and aloneness that I insist upon helps me enjoy the people and activity that surround me. I have wonderful friends, but I learned long ago that I must be own best friend first and foremost, and it is because of this that I can be a better friend. The balance of either extreme is where contentment lies for me. The emergence of new understanding and growth is held within the dangling dualism of both the external presentation of self and the internal realization of my own self. But the noise is so easy to find, and it is more difficult to remind myself to go in search of solitude. Therefore, the peace of being alone finds itself a special place in the flow of my everyday, as I search for moments to insert the quiet and personal—the minutes I lie awake before getting up to start my day or taking time to notice the changing trees on my walk to campus.

I also know that I am okay with being alone. Thus far, being alone is something that I have been lucky enough to choose to be at times, for as long as I’d like, and I’ve had the assurance of knowing that there would be people waiting for me on the other side of my closed door. I understand that some people in my life are not that fortunate. They are alone because they do not have anyone or even themselves. Through my times of solitude, I feel that I can be okay with an alone I might not choose one day. Because I will have myself, a friend I cannot lose. In this way, I have come to understand the difference between alone and loneliness and how to keep myself from the latter.

I believe that the silence is not emptiness, but a space for my own voice. I believe in solitude.