Design a site like this with WordPress.com
Get started

Why You Should Spend More Time Alone

On New Year’s day, my family went to Siesta Key in Florida. I’m not the biggest “beach” person, but on this day, I told myself that I’d go for a run and find somewhere to journal.

I found this place.

I was all alone here. Just me, the journal I balanced precariously on my lap, and the occasional seagull. That was how I wanted to reflect on 2021 and write about my goals for 2022. So I did. I lost track of time, calmed by the lullaby of the waves crashing against the rocks. I wrote until my wrist protested, and then I just looked, and I pondered, and it felt good. When that wasn’t enough pondering, I went into the nearby neighborhood, sat on the bench, and let myself think some more.

Being alone that day felt good, but it didn’t feel important or necessary. In fact, I put it out of my mind until many months later, when I picked up Digital Minimalism. It suggests that no one is ever alone anymore. We spend hours alone on our phones, but that is not true aloneness, because we are still exposing ourselves to the opinions of others. Cal Newport argues that we don’t let ourselves be alone anymore because we are scared of being bored, or scared of missing out.

Abraham Lincoln drafted the emancipation proclamation not in the white house but in an isolated cottage. He was able to look outside and have moments alone with his own thoughts. Other famous thinkers have extolled the merits of walks. Taking a “mindful walk”, as we therapists call it, is one form of solitude.

But really, based on Cal’s definition, we could be alone in a crowd. We could practice aloneness on the subway. We could be alone with our thoughts almost anywhere. I find that I’m not truly alone with my thoughts on any day of the week besides the Sabbath, which is when Jews disconnect from technology and refrain from creating anything new. I have kept the Sabbath for years with varying degrees of success (it can be a lot harder to disconnect sometimes).

I haven’t deliberately sought out solitude since New Year’s Day. But after hearing about its benefits, I’d like to start. In upcoming entries, I’m going to schedule pockets of solitude within my day. Maybe it will be a trip to a coffee shop or a library. Maybe it will be a mindful walk (probably not until the winter months). Or maybe I’ll sit in my room, on my armchair, and just think.

Advertisement

Published by adventuresofagradgirl.wordpress.com

Hi everyone! I started my doctorate in clinical psychology in fall 2020. A google search revealed that there are no current grad school blogs for psychology students. Anyway, I happen to know a girl who wants to document her journey to getting a doctorate (spoiler: it's me). Welcome. Hope you stay awhile!

3 thoughts on “Why You Should Spend More Time Alone

  1. I’m a much better person when I have some solitude (or quiet time with loved ones) regularly. With so many work pressures, demands and constant interaction with colleagues, I relish getting away from the screen and out into nature.

    Like

  2. I just started reading the same book too, and can totally agree on his term Solitude Deprivation. I need to reclaim some solitude myself, and will definitely take on Newport’s suggestions in the book. Great to read about your plans, and let’s find our solitude together… alone!

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: