When was the last time you were alone? Truly alone?
I'm rarely alone. I'm always filling the void with other people's thoughts.
It all started with my first iPod. Music would fill any spare time I was alone. Other people's thoughts.
This is is even more the case today,
- Social media
I'm like most people. If I queue for a second I whip out my phone.
Solitude is becoming increasingly difficult in today's world. So what, who cares and why does that matter?
It matters because at what other time do you get reflect on things and think creatively without any outside influence? It matters because without it I'm forming the habit of relying on external things to provide me happiness. Solitude is not loneliness.
“Being solitary is being alone well: being alone luxuriously immersed in doings of your own choice, aware of the fullness of your own presence rather than of the absence of others. Because solitude is an achievement.” Alice Koller
For most people, the only time they have solitude is in the shower. I bet some of your best ideas have been in the shower or whilst cleaning your teeth.
I'm lucky, I was born before the internet. I understand the benefits of solitude, I've just got to find the time and the place to practise it. It's tougher for young people. There's a lot of research that shows that the rising levels of anxiety amongst the iGeneration (born 1994+) can be partly attributed to the fact that these young minds never find solitude. Boredom is not a bad thing.
If that's the case, why not extend these periods of solitude? It doesn't need to be in a remote cabin in the woods, anywhere will do. I plan to re-learn the art of solitude again. It's not that scary to be alone with your thoughts. It's liberating. I'll keep you posted on how this goes.
So stop reading this, put down your phone and rediscover the art of solitude.
Cheers and all the best.