The Rallying Cry for Solitude

{3 minute read}

I love myself a good summer party as much as the next girl. The pool parties, lively music, and ice cold adult bevs hook me every time. But if I’m really honest, one of my favorite parts of summer is the solitude. The early morning rise, coffee on the deck, the walks through the woods, the solo kayak rides. Pure joy right there.

Call me anti-social. Throw me a buzz kill stink face. I can take it.
You’re not alone (get it?). It’s been discovered that some people would rather be zapped by electric shocks (you read that right) rather than spend a measly 15 minutes solo with their thoughts. When we’d rather physically harm ourselves than face the mental music alone? Meh, no biggie. As you were.

I will not bore you with a social media soap box moment. I’ll let Louis C.K. entertain you with one instead:

“I was alone in my car and a Bruce Springsteen song came on…and I heard it and it gave me a kind of fall, back-to-school-depression feeling and it made me feel really sad and so I went, “Okay, I’m getting really sad,” so I had to get the phone and write “Hi” to, like, fifty people….Anyway, I started to get that sad feeling and reached for the phone and then I said, ‘You know what: Don’t. Just be sad. Just stand in the way of it and let it hit you like a truck.’So, I  pulled over and I just cried like a bitch. I cried so much and it was beautiful….Sadness is poetic…. You are lucky to live sad moments. And then I had happy feelings because when you let yourself have sad feelings your body has like antibodies that come rushing in to meet the sad feelings. But because we don’t want that first feeling of sad, we push it away with our phones. So you never feel completely happy or completely sad. You just feel kind of satisfied with your products. And then…you die.”
{Excerpt from Sherry Turkle’s Reclaiming Conversation: The Power of Talk in a Digital Age}

See, the more we become accustomed to being with ourselves the less lonely we feel when we are alone. We are able to emote without objection, judgment or pointed fingers. We are able to be true to ourselves and enter the world truer to others. We are able to clearly differentiate feeling lonely with being alone. We (brace yourself) may actually grow to enjoy it. You may be one of the few who has non-negotiable solo time already in the works. If that’s you, then you know that it’s not about becoming a recluse and rejecting all humanity. It’s about finding the time to regroup, refocus and revitalize who we are and what incredible contributions we can make in the world – whether it be in our homes, offices or communities. One of the best articles on the topic is “How Solitude Can Change Your Brain in Profound Ways”.  It nails down insight, importance, case studies and advice on how to ease into solitude. It also includes the 2014 study mentioned above and one of my favorite books EVER – The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron.

We all really need that time. We can throw a trendy acronym on it to make us feel better about our desire not to miss out on anything but, really, c’mon, who are we kidding? If we don’t allow ourselves the chance to be alone with our own deep thoughts like Jack Handey then we are missing out on some vital moments. Our clarity is murky and our sense of self is dismal. We add fuel to the auto-pilot fire. Worse case scenario: We combust. Burnout. Sorry, Neil, I love ya, but not the way I want to go. I’d much rather fade away for awhile and come back with a renewed sense of purpose and zest for life.

Solitude allows us to understand ourselves better, gain perspective and then reenter the group atmosphere with a deeper sense of presence, light-heartedness, and creativity.

Now, that’s what I call the life of the party.

Stick to what you know you need. Alone time is gold time.

 

Looking for more book recs? I’ve got you covered.
Need a one on one dose to freshen up your A-game? Let’s do this.

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