How much do you like your alone time?
Would you rather bring adult beverages and tube as a group or rise early and kayak a quiet river?
Would you rather join a group of friends, safety measures in place, for a weekend of fun and games or rent a cabin in the woods and hike by yourself?
During this time of social distancing, many of us are missing social interactions. We wish we could still safely meet in bars or restaurants and are upset about the changes in social festi-vals such as Wo-Zha-Wa. Others, however, especially those under extra pressure because of the pandemic, are seeking solitude like never before.
A male friend of mine who works with large groups in a stressful job is looking forward to taking off for several days this fall to hike alone and clear his head. He needs a break from de-manding customers and the extra worry about keeping six feet apart or whether people are wearing masks.
A female friend enjoys camping alone and reports that sites are hard to get since it’s be-come so popular. She says it’s empowering to park her camper and figure out the hook up. Fel-low campers are around if she wants to socialize, but she enjoys the chance to read, walk, med-itate and, as she so perfectly describes, “let her inner voice come out.”
Working parents find it especially hard to get alone time, but it’s possible. Some get up early or use their lunch breaks to get in the car and escape for a few minutes. My daughters, both of whom have young children and outside responsibilities, enjoy the occasional solitary ac-tivity such as a run or an escape to a coffee shop where they can gather their thoughts. They’re better prepared to meet the demands of motherhood after the break.
This is true of married people and family members needing time apart as well. There’s something to the old saying, “Absence makes the heart grow fonder.” Family fall gatherings such as Thanksgiving will be smaller, but think about how much we’ll appreciate one another once we are reunited.
The French philosopher Blasie Pascal wrote, “All of humanity’s problems stem from man’s inability to sit quietly in a room alone.” Even though this was written back in the 1600s, it’s relevant today. Here are some of rhe benefits of spending time alone.
• Alone time increases creativity. Having periods of isolation allows you to let your mind wander. You can concentrate and produce creative works. Whether you’re a carpenter design-ing furniture or a writer/painter/composer finding your muse, time free of distraction is benefi-cial. Several of my writer friends enjoy renting an isolated cabin where they spend uninter-rupted days working. They report back accomplishments such as drafting an entire novel.
• When you’re doing something solo, you can decide the pace and you’re free to take needed moments to reflect. You’re under no pressure to eat at a certain time, talk, or make specific plans. Your interests get priority.
• Solo time allows you to think about your life, discover who you truly are, where your strengths lie, and set goals.
• Time spent alone is restorative. Afterward you may have a new appreciation for the peo-ple and things in your life.
So go for that solo hike, sneak away at lunch time, or get up a half hour earlier than the family. Enjoy being with yourself.