Friday, 20 August 2010

The power of alone time

When I was little, I knew I needed it. I would tell my playmates it was time for them to go home now. It wasn't that I didn't love having them over.  But I also knew, it seems, that enough was enough. And when that time came, I wanted my alone time to play pretend or draw or do whatever it was that my future-writer/artist self needed to do.

So why is being alone sometimes so critical to me? Why does it feel so natural to me, and so odd to others?

Part of it is being a non-belonger.  That doesn't mean I am a loner.  It just means that I don't have a strong drive to be a part of a group.  My identity is not dependent on religious, social or ethnic labels. For those with a strong drive to belong, being alone can be uncomfortable. Their self is primarily defined by the groups they are with. For non-belongers, our "self" is defined internally. So alone is still me.

Another part of it is being creative and artistic.  It's much harder to be creative in a group.  You've probably met others like me -- I'm the one who always tried to get out of group projects at school.  Now you remember, right?  The one who was happy when there was an odd number and someone had to do their report/research project/art alone.  Yup, that was me.

At work, I love my office with its door I can shut when I need to focus on a project. (For me, living heck would be a cubicle!)  When I'm alone at work or at home, I can plan a webpage or a large-format art project or work through the dialog in something I'm writing. When there are people around, my thoughts are more scattered, and I tend to focus on the people rather than the work. Then nothing gets done.

The rest of the reason?  Not sure, exactly.I can guess at some of it.

  • I like to read, uninterrupted  And that's hard to do when you're not alone.  
  • I am rather introverted, so being around people all the time exhausts me -- I need recharge time before I can be "on" again. 
  • And my spiritual life is pretty much inward.  I'm not inspired by group prayer, although the energy is often good.  My soul connection is in silence.

Anyhow, I was surfing the blogisphere, and I came across a blog post about alone time, with an awesome video in for those of you who aren't sure if you need alone time, or who may want it but find the idea kind of intimidating, here is some sage advice on learning how to be happily, joyfully alone. But before you click on it, you might want to stop the blog music -- the player is just to the right, and it's called "Music to Read By" ...

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