Something about college trains you to be social. Perhaps it’s the first-year experience–constantly being thrown into orientation, classes, small groups, dorms, and other such things to the point that it becomes difficult to find any time to be truly alone. But I don’t think it’s just college that causes this aversion to being solitary–even the word “loneliness” has negative connotations.
As a very true-to-type introvert, I flourish and re-charge when left alone. But recently, I’ve noticed a strange feeling when spending extended time on my own–almost a guilt or an insecurity in being completely by myself. In trying to figure out where this feeling came from, I think a lot of it (for me) comes from the college atmosphere. Growing up as an only child, I definitely was used to being by myself. My favorite activity, not shockingly, was reading–my parents would tell me something while I was reading to which I would nod and then later they would realize I had not heard a word they said.
Two weekends ago, I spend my Saturday alone at the park, reading and people-watching, and it was great.
While at home over the summer, I find that I’m more content being alone. But this summer, I’ve returned to Nashville and being so close to my college environment has caused a quick resurfacing of that nagging guilt. So, that being said, one of my summer goals is to become more content with being in solitude. I’m particularly fond of this video, which is delightfully inspiring. I don’t always make it a point to spend time by myself and not feel guilty about it, so it’s definitely something to work on.
I certainly believe that humans need society and community–but I think that we often undervalue being alone. There’s something rather satisfying and empowering in being able to find comfort in solitude. Furthermore, it’s a great way to clear your mind, introspect a bit, and I find it always brings a little burst of creativity with it. Besides, that solitude can always be aided with a good book–and with a good book, you’re never truly alone (written like a true English major).