2 B Alone or Not 2 B Alone

15 Feb

There is a stigma attached to doing anything alone.

alone

For example, I relish my alone time up in the woods of Maine — away from any human interaction — but I’m always surprised by those who view it as sad, or even pitiful. Once in awhile someone (mostly other writers) will understand, but the majority of people frown and ask in a concerned voice, But aren’t you lonely up there? 

Xmas Eve 2015

As anyone who lives alone or works alone or simply loves alone-time will tell you, being alone is not more or less lonely than being with people. 

Introverts are generally assumed to enjoy alone time, while extroverts are supposed to prefer interacting with people at all times… but it isn’t really true. I know plenty of introverts who are terrified of being completely alone, and I know confident extroverts who travel, dine, and attend events on their own all the time.

Lately, I’ve been thinking about what I love doing alone and what I never do alone… and why that is?

~ I’m fine going to a coffee shop or café alone, but I dread eating at a restaurant alone.

~ I almost always shop (for food, clothes, gifts) alone, but would never go to a festival or fair alone.

~ I love staying in a hotel alone (and getting room service in my sweats), but I wouldn’t stay at a small Inn or B&B alone.

~ I have no problem going to a conference alone, but loathe going to a party alone.

~ I love hanging out at the library alone, but I would never hang out at a museum alone.

~ I love flying alone, or taking any form of transportation alone, but I don’t like being on a trip alone.

~ I’m happy to go to a classical concert alone, but would never go to any other kind of concert alone.

~ I’m fine seeing a play alone, but have never gone to the movies alone.

~ I love taking a course or class alone, but I wouldn’t join a club alone.

Perhaps it’s all about the level of intimacy or closeness with which we “aloners” are comfortable…  as if we’ve predetermined some imaginary point where our bubble of alone-ness might pop?

bubble

More than anything, I love hiking and walking and biking alone because:

1.  I’m thinking-dreaming-imagining-mulling.

2. Being in nature is as close as I will ever get to a spiritual connection.

3. I love the freedom of going whenever and wherever I want to go.

Flat Hill2

Wanting to be alone is not a rejection of the people I love – in fact, I can only enjoy being alone knowing there are people I love in my life.

But I know I have to nurture myself in order to give myself to others. And that’s the real value of being alone.

Snowstorm

13 Replies to “2 B Alone or Not 2 B Alone

    • So, going to the movies alone (and enjoying the experience) is on my bucket list 🙂 I have so many friends who prefer going to the movies alone… but I think it’s always been an intimate experience for me… movie dates (cuddling in the dark) are so romantic and and I also love going with a friend or group (and whispering a little), then discussing the film afterward. But one of these days, I’ll have to try a solo viewing.

      • I also have always felt like I’d enjoy going to a movie alone, but never have. On the other hand, going to the movies with friends is the perfect activity for us introverts, since we can be social without having to actually interact with other people 🙂

    • I completely agree! For the most part, children innately don’t like to be alone, and that’s to be expected… However, it’s interesting how adolescents begin to shift and withdraw… and need the time/space to be alone. It definitely happened to me during my teen years. And I’ve found the older I get, the more I enjoy being alone too.

  1. Ultimately, I think everything we do and feel is shaped by our views of birth and death, the before and after… constantly navigating the “in between” on a daily basis. For the most part, I agree with you – with the exception of people who have been traumatized. There have been times when I’m not in a healthy emotional state to be alone – I can only imagine how scary it can be for victims of crime, abuse, suffering.

  2. Love this post. Beth.
    I love walking alone anywhere but the woods. There, I need a guide – or risk getting lost in the first five minutes. I guess I could add traveling by myself for the same reason. No sense of direction. Biking, however, is OK. (on road)
    Museums are my all-time favorite places for solitary visits.
    I’m fine being alone in coffee shops, restaurants, hotels, inns, movies, plays, trains-planes- and-automobiles… Oddly enough, when I’m unaccompanied in those kinds of public situations, I feel almost invisible – free to stare and eavesdrop with abandon.
    All that said, although I’m comfortable either way, I prefer company at plays, movies and concerts because I enjoy sharing them with people I love.

    • Wow, how incredible to feel invisible.. I grow less self-conscious as the years go on, but would love to disappear completely – so Zen.

      And I agree it’s just as wonderful to share experiences with people I love & like & even tolerate 🙂 but it’s a very different experience.

  3. I am happy to spend as much time as possible without other people! Of course, I work with loads of people intimately every day, so I cherish my alone time.

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