Saturday, June 11, 2016

Learn to be Alone!

Every time someone posts on social media or whines that they spent the holidays alone or celebrated a birthday alone, the world freaks out. All heck breaks loose! Everyone and their mother wants to send gifts and money and hugs and firefighters.... Because if you're alone, the assumption is that society has rejected you. That you are unwanted, and that's a trend that will follow you for life. Being alone is a sign of your place in the hierarchy, and let's just say, you're not doing well at all.

Who are we when we are alone? We are entirely, completely, and truly ourselves. We are creative and innovative and weird and wild. If we boo and hiss each time a kid is left to entertain themselves or deal with isolation, we are killing all these magical alone moments. That child or teenagers will never know or appreciate time alone; it will be shameful and boring, instead.

Typically, I meet two kinds of people: the lone wolves who are always told they NEED more contact with people, and the socialites who cannot go a moment on their own. The latter is the type who goes into a deep depression if they are rejected, or have no one to invite to an event. They live off the carbon dioxide others exhale. The former can be just as bad or dangerous, I won't deny that. However, we all know too much isolation is bad. We know that spending 90% of your life in a basement or bedroom or alone in a cubicle will harm your well-being. You can read some pretty freaky and scary ideas on extreme isolation here:

Science Magazine even quotes that: 
The most socially isolated subjects had a 26% greater risk of dying

Which means, if you keep the company of others at all times, you may become immortal.
That sounds good to me!

In the end, though, they do point out that maybe isolation isn't the worst thing in the world. It's good to have people to count on in case things go badly, but... hey, maybe enjoying your own company is a good thing.

On the other hand, when it comes to being alone, most articles and research suggest that this is unbearable for a huge part of the population. Nearly every article offered steps one can take to become aware of one's own inability to be alone. They also offered tips and advice on how to slowly accustom oneself to it. Though, none seem to report on the effects of every jerk around you telling you not to be alone, and how to make THAT stop.

After all, if you get used to being alone, you'll be an outcast, which means you're less likely to buy into trends and bad habits, and, you know, all that good stuff that makes other people money!

Of course, no parent wants to see their child sitting alone day after day. No kid should experience rejection from all other kids. Not if they want to socialize, that is. But what about learning to embrace it when it does inevitably occur? If we constantly throw that option out, then when that child turns 40, and realizes he/she won't always be surrounded by adoring fans, that's when that individual will truly suffer.

When it comes to those "weird" kids who like to be alone, I think they should be considered lucky! That kid will learn to create and imagine and think. Not as a group or a part of a cult, but as an individual. Those types of children will know how to take nothing and make new things and find skills and hobbies to entertain themselves. They won't have to face the agony and torture of finding a date for every event and a friend to bring them to the bathroom or stress over where they will go each and every weekend.

Once upon a time, when you had a Sunday off work and nothing to do, it was highly recommended that you take that day to just rest and relax, and be alone (or exclusively with your family....) Nowadays, staying in on a weekend is deplorable. It's a waste of your life, and it makes you boring or sad. Having no Friday night plans is for nerds and people who work too much. If you don't go out, you're old and will miss everything. After all, if you don't go out, your friend is less likely to go out, and if your friend doesn't go out, he/she will be ALONE; with his/her self and his/her thoughts and his/her reality and flaws and fears. Nothing but pen, paper, musical instruments, pets, healthy eating and drinking options, books.... All those things we like to say we enjoy, but do we really? Or, should I say, do we make use of them as much as we claim? Do we take advantage of the fact that we are lucky enough to have things other than people to calm our nerves and soothe our souls? Not enough, I say. Not enough.

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