I spend a lot of time alone. The day job involves spreadsheet and data manipulation that requires concentrated thought. People jib-jabbing in the background is a distraction that leads to errors, mistakes, and reworks that I prefer to avoid. Writing is also a pursuit best undertaken by a party of one. Lately, with almost 45 inches of accumulated snowfall, I have spent many hours alone, outdoors, in the cold, and contemplating snowflakes.
Studies say alone time can enhance creativity, increase your productivity, and improve your concentration and memory. But we live in a society that condemns a person alone. We see them as someone who should be pitied, ridiculed, or befriended to save them from the realm of losers. The world views solo operators as being inconvenienced or suffering a punishment. It is a fate to be avoided at all costs. I am wired differently. As a child, teachers, parents, and friends coaxed, urged, and required me to join the rest of the family, but it has never been my default mode. I relish personal explorations and the ability to remove myself from the fray to determine how social connections influence and shapes my internal processes and perceptions, be they for good or ill.
But enjoying solitude doesn’t mean I don’t also derive joy from being with friends, and family, meeting new people, or building relationships. Being alone and loneliness are two very different things. I miss our Friday night dinner ritual with friends, sitting in a café to write, and connecting with strangers, face to face. Standing in the cold lets me appreciate the bustle of a crowd, the touch of a loved one’s hand, and the laughter of my companions.
Do you enjoy being alone?
Keep on writing.
Jo Hawk The Writer