We may not be able to make babies alone, but we can do plenty of other things that are worth doing on our own without feeling lonely about it.
Quite often, I find myself choosing to do things alone rather than inviting others to join in. It’s not just that asking people is a hard thing for an introvert like me, but it often brings up the “excusative” side of people. Doing things on my own means I can do them at my own pace.
“Where have you been today?” mother asks me sometimes.
I tell her.
“Did you go alone?”
I nod. Something of a worried looks comes over her, and that “alone” echoes over the silence.
We all have different levels of maximum loneliness we can tolerate, and mine happens to be quite high. It’s not that I would mind hanging out with the right sort of people more, but all to often it takes so much trouble to set up meetings and such that it’s just easier to do things on my own.
When I go out somewhere alone, I can focus on the place. I can walk at my own pace. I can stop and linger over some detail that other people wouldn’t have any patience for. I also find it easier to talk with strangers and learn things from them. I enjoy going alone to museums, cinemas, parks, bookshops, stores, and just about anywhere else. Okay, not restaurants and bars, but then I’m not crazy about those.
Not even the loneliest of us can help being social. We are all interconnected. We all depend on each other in some way. You just can’t be lonely too long if you live in a community. Even the simple greeting of a neighbor that knows you only from sight will break through that loneliness and warm you up inside.
That’s why sometimes it’s better to just do what you want to do without worrying whether others will join you or not. Today there is a big emphasis on groups, teams, and communities. Even a big loner like me can understand the benefits of these. Why else would I be here, blogging?
But some of us do function well alone. Selective loneliness – which happens when we choose to be lonely over alternatives – is not just one of the indulgences that us shy, introverted, quiet types can appreciate, but a simple pleasure we can give ourselves without second thoughts.
We can and should do things alone when we feel like it, and not feel lonely about it.
Don’t you prefer doing things alone sometimes? Would you call yourself a loner?