Bea Boomer’s Wellness Project – Day 32 – 3/16/15
I do believe that friendship and other social relationships lead to vital aging; however, I’m one of those people who also needs some alone time. I learned about what it was like to be lonely as a child. However, in the long run, I also learned about the blessings of alone time.
I was a solitary kid. It’s not that I didn’t have any friends – I was simply shy and introverted. I kept to myself more often than not. I don’t remember having friends at my house when I was in elementary school. My family situation was often stressful. My dad was an alcoholic, and that, along with other dynamics, didn’t make my house a welcoming place.
I walked or rode my bike to our local library by myself – the library was my haven. Losing myself in books was a relief and a pleasure. I also wrote a lot of stories and plays; I had quite an imagination in those days.
As I got older, I broke out of my shell and developed typical teenaged friendships, and also met my two forever friends. Yet there were still times I felt achingly alone – never feeling like I quite “fit in.”
I’m not looking for sympathy. It’s what my life was. While at the time, I didn’t find anything redeeming about loneliness, I realize now that it certainly didn’t scar me for life. Instead, it taught me some things:
- I don’t mind being silent at times. I don’t always need to fill up space with words. Sometimes it’s better just to listen.
- I learned how to be self-reliant.
- I learned that there’s nothing wrong with eating alone at a restaurant.
- I’ve sometimes been lonelier in a group of people than I was being by myself.
- I hate talking on the phone. Get to the point and hang up, that’s my motto. (Really? That’s a lesson from loneliness? Maybe not. Could just be my old introverted self raising her head).
Way back in 2011, I wrote a post listing the five benefits I got out of solitude. This hasn’t changed over the years. Because I’m more at peace with myself than I’ve ever been, alone time has become more important than ever.
What about you? Do you enjoy solitude? What benefits do you get from that time alone?
For additional reading:
Bella DePaulo (Social Scientist, Blogger, Author and more) provides many links that lead to articles describing what experts have to say about solitude in her article titled. What’s Great about Solitude: Here’s What we Know
I also enjoyed this article from the Greatist website, which talks about the Joy of Missing Out.
Language… has created the word ‘loneliness’ to express the pain of being alone. And it has created the word ‘solitude’ to express the glory of being alone. (Paul Tillich)