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Spending Time Alone is a Superpower
I’ve always marched to the beat of my own drum.
While I enjoy spending time with others, spending time alone is my jam. There’s something simple and sweet about being left to your own devices.
When I was a kid it meant playing Legos, K’NEX and the occasional video game. Nowadays it’s reading, writing and running…and the occasional video game. Different methods, similar intentions.
Most folks conflate spending time alone with loneliness. They’re wrong.
I’ve been lonely before. It’s one of the worst feelings in the world. You’re stranded at sea in one of those inflatable life rafts. No one’s coming to help, nothing’s on the horizon. It’s just you and your negative thoughts and the scorching sun.
The differentiator is purpose.
When you spend time alone you’re choosing to spend time a certain way. Your hand isn’t being forced. You’re making a conscious decision.
Control is what humans ultimately crave. To do things on our terms, exercising power and authority the way we see fit. If we’ re not in control, if we’re not agents of our own lives, we feel trapped.
Consciously spending time by ourselves opens us up. Forces us to come to grips with who we are as people, what values we hold, and how we impact the world.
Most importantly, it enables us to think.
Critical thinking is a lost art. Smartphones and social media have all but eradicated the need. Entertainment, information, even love (or rather the commodity love has become) are readily available at your fingertips. There is no thought anymore, only consumption.
Solitude removes you from the consumerist world, if just for a moment. Solitude turns down the volume, reduces the noise, gives you an opportunity to reflect on what’s important and plan your next big move.
There is one “gotcha”
Distraction is an insidious devil.
Back to conscious choice. You must choose to spend your time wisely. There are plenty of ways to distract yourself by yourself. These distractions must not overwhelm you.
Distraction is the layman’s utopia. It’s heroin coursing through your veins – pleasure built not on profundity, but immoral self-indulgence.
Craft a vision for your solitude, like you would for your career or family life. What are your goals? What’s your plan? How will you remain steadfast? Expecting to achieve something with the assumption things will simply happen is foolish. Put the necessary measures in place to give you the best chance for success.
Solitude does not mean loneliness. Spending time alone is not weakness.
Embracing alone time is a superpower.