“There are times when alone is the best place to be.” ~Unknown Some people think it’s awful to spend time alone—that it means you’re antisocial or no one needs you. Some people feel sad and lonely when they don’t have company every evening or weekend. But being alone doesn’t mean that no one needs you. And it can actually be quite useful to take some time to yourself.
I am almost thirty. This is an age when you start to rethink your whole life, trying to understand what you should change or improve, what you should do next, and what specifically you need in your life.
I felt this way a couple of months ago.
I thought I’d achieved nothing in my almost thirty years, and I felt I should have changed something but couldn’t figure out what or how.
I had to cope with my feelings, but the everyday chaos of my life didn’t allow me time to concentrate on myself.
The decision came like a bolt from the blue—to spend some time completely alone. When you’re alone, nothing prevents you from listening to your inner voice, heart, and mind.
Here are a few other benefits of spending time in solitude.
1. It’s a great opportunity to recharge.
We often try to make people around us happy and help them work through their feelings. This can be emotionally draining. For example, I have one friend who lives abroad, who comes online to talk to me only when she feels bad and wants to share all her problems with me. It takes a lot of energy and makes me sad and frustrated. Time spent alone helped me take a break from constant interaction with other people so I could recharge.
2. It’s a good time to think and reflect.
Life moves at a crazy speed. It doesn’t often give us time to stop and reflect. When alone, you have a great opportunity to focus on yourself. Thanks to my voluntary solitude, I had a chance to question whether I was moving in the right direction, I’ve realized what I should change in my life, and I’ve finally found time to relax and meditate.
3. It’s a chance to understand what really makes you happy.
When you spend time with other people, you often have to make compromises. There’s always a chance that what you want may not coincide with others’ wishes. When you’re alone, it’s only you who decides what to do. Do you want to spend the whole day lying on the beach? Go! Do you want to visit that contemporary art exhibition? There’s no reason to skip it. As for me, I’ve finally visited the city of my dreams, Prague. None of my friends ever had the time, money, or desire to go with me, but that no longer mattered.
4. It makes you more productive.
It can be fun and exciting to spend time with friends, but it can also distract you from things that are important to you, like exercise, hobbies, a long-delayed book, and unfinished work. Spending some time alone can be a good opportunity to make progress toward your personal goals.
5. It makes you more self-reliant.
We often seek approval from friends, colleagues, and family members before we take action or make a decision. There are times when it’s necessary to do this, but there are also times when it’s possible to act without consulting others first. When you’re alone, you’ll learn how to make decisions without anyone’s help. This was difficult for me at first, but in time I became more self-reliant.
6. It teaches you to value people who are close to you.
When you regularly take time for yourself, it becomes even more enjoyable to engage with others, as you’ve given yourself time and space to miss their company. Don’t be afraid of being alone. Very often it helps us understand who we are, what we want, and what we can do to become better people.
Lesley Vos is a novice writer who is working on her novelette at the moment. She teaches French to high school students and is in the search of herself.