Learning to Be Alone

This video has been making its rounds and it has brought up a lot of different feelings for me. My life has changed a lot in the last few years, leaving San Francisco, traveling a lot, being single, becoming a writer and living in NYC and with all these changes has come a large amount of alone time. We are living in an increasingly individualistic time where a lot of our connectivity happens online (which is great) but I think can be very isolating. This video is a reminder that being alone is alright, even beautiful. But it also makes me wonder if we are supposed to be so isolated. Lately, I’ve been feeling that I know how to be alone, it is connecting to others that seems harder. (Please insert appropriate Smiths song lyric). But that said, the craving and desire to always be around somebody is not always a healthy one and it is good to be reminded that being alone is just fine.

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  • http://cabaretic.blogspot.com nazza

    As you mention, it’s a balance. I think a big reason I have never managed solitude well is because I had Generalized Anxiety Disorder beginning as soon as I can remember. My mother noted that I was an easily overstimulated and fearful baby. And I point this out to say that I know loneliness well and while it is easy to romanticize it, I think too much of it can be really detrimental. But also, if it’s something you’ve never really come to terms with, perhaps it’s okay to know you can handle it by yourself with no one else’s assistance.

    I had one real friend from the time I was a little boy until I was in high school. Nowadays, my disorder would have been more aggressively treated, but no one knew how serious it was at the time. So when I threw myself into romantic relationships, even those with people whom I was badly suited, I was merely responding to that part of myself that had always craved company. And along the way I learned a lot about myself, but I got into some really dicey situations I’d rather not think about, too.

  • http://feministing.com/members/silva/ silva

    I wonder if I’m strange for liking to be alone.
    I live with my husband and I like it when he is home, and sometimes I wish he were here, but don’t wish to be with him, or anyone, all the time. I love to spend of my day alone. That`s one of the reason I`m reluctant to have children: it will considerably lessen my time with myself.

  • http://feministing.com/members/konkonsn/ konkonsn

    I see this video more as a commentary on being comfortable not always being around someone, especially in public situations. I know that when I visit a new place, I like to tour it by myself the first or second time through because you’re not as distracted without someone and also because you don’t have to manage your shared interests; you can see whatever you want, whenever you want. When I was living in Japan, I constantly went out by myself because other people were more interested in shopping or drinking than visiting the temples and shrines.

    Likewise, I tend to see a nice place to eat and maybe want to try it out, but it’s hard to schedule people who see it more as a frivolous expenditure or have other things on their mind. But it feels awkward to go by myself, and I think, “Why is that?”