Alone time: a time to enjoy or a time to dread?
I didn’t always find it easy to spend time alone. Way back in the day Sunday nights were my killers and I hated them, after a weekend of company to be alone felt isolated and depressing. They need not have been if I were able to rid myself of the fear of being alone.
It has taken me years to find the security to go it alone and I don’t always find it natural.
Spending time alone takes practise and dedication. It is so much less fraught to depend on company for our entertainment and emotional fulfilment. Being alone is oftentimes nerve wracking and confrontational; flying solo can challenge our confidence and bring on insecurities that are not necessarily real.
I have learnt to tell myself being alone, spending time on my own is healthy; rather than avoid, I am courting it.
The concept of “alone’ is not something I embraced easily. I grew up in a quiet household with plenty of alone time so as an adult I came to dread it. For many years it was easy to avoid with three small children and their busy lives to manage. The thought of spending an evening alone was not only alien to me but also a frightening concept.
Alone time, like so many aspects of maturity takes time.
I worry the impact of social media and our dependency on devices for stimulation will remove any chance of ‘alone time’. How will we ever indulge our own thoughts and our emotions when we can scroll and click our way through life? I see myself as far too reliant on social media and as much as the joy of connection makes for great pleasure it also makes for very little time alone. The true challenge is knowing when to turn off.
How to be alone?
See solitude as a positive, as a precious gift and take that time to indulge in “me” time.
Practice happiness and optimism. See being alone as a time for happiness, not as a negative I-have-nothing-better-to-do use of time.
Try going to the theatre or the cinema alone. Use activities that are traditionally group pleasures and make them solo ones. Take tea alone in a cafe or eat in a restaurant. Dining alone is the hardest one for me and I still haven’t mastered it without the help of a good book or my iPad.
Up your creativity with writing and reading. Allow time in the day for your book, your paints or your pens and pencils. Whatever it is that says creative to you, take it up.
Revel in and celebrate your independence. Independence and confidence are inter linked and one leads to the other. They are a powerful couple.
I do feel more relaxed, more settled and I enjoy the company of friends and family so much more. Life feels less of a rat race or a fast jog on the treadmill and more like a chosen and considered path. I feel less frenetic and more re-charged; I have even more energy for all those people and past times I love. I find it easier to say no when I should and yes when I want. Happiness comes in many forms and being alone should be one of them.
Do you make the most of alone time? Have you mastered the art? xv
image, kate moss by tim walker for vogue us april 2012