On Alone Time

On Alone Time

Alone time, that elusive little beast. At times, dreaded. At other times, desperately sought at all costs.

I recently learned that solitude and loneliness are different. Solitude is the state or situation of being alone. It doesn’t necessarily have a negative connotation. Loneliness is being sad because one has no friends or company. I wish I had known that a long time ago.

I remember when I was first out of college and single, I would fill my evenings after work full of stuff so I didn’t have to go home and be alone. What a dreaded thing for a 20-something to not have plans, in my mind. “The not-so-fun part [of being alone] comes in when you’re thinking about how others are perceiving your aloneness and worrying that they simply think you have no one to hang out with.” (1) I can totally resonate with that.

Now, as a mama, I can’t wait for the scant times I get to be alone. Those few minutes in the shower in the morning, or if my husband is out, in the evening when the baby is in bed, I can just enjoy the quiet. For me, it is time to think, time to veg, time to finish that project I started that I can’t seem to get around to.

As an introvert, I need some alone time. Time to think and process, time to recoup. In fact, “for introverts, to be alone with our thoughts is as restorative as sleeping, as nourishing as eating.” (2) I’ve learned to enjoy the times when my husband and I sit quietly beside each other, but there is something about being truly alone, with only yourself as your companion. I think alone time allows (or forces) you to face yourself, to be ok being just you with no one else to hide behind or to entertain you.

“Sometimes, you need to be alone. Not be lonely, but to enjoy your free time being you and yourself.” (Unknown) That being said, I love going to coffee shops alone to sit and be around people and yet left to myself. The buzz is invigorating and connecting. On the other side of the coin, I hate going to events alone. I feel so awkward and exposed. I don’t know who to talk to or what to do with myself. I feel acutely alone despite being around so many people.

Because I don’t have much alone time since Finn was born, I don’t really know what to do with the time when I do have it. My mind starts racing through all the things I could or want to do. I start something only to get distracted by another something. To combat this, I’m trying to be more intentional to write down things I want to accomplish so they get out of my brain, as well as set aside time to think, journal, write, and read. Reading is a big outlet for me to think and dream and engage, as opposed to watching tv where I just zone out more or less. I’m also trying to take advantage of random opportunities, like when out for a walk with Finn, to think and process. (The fresh air really helps.)

So, that leads me to my questions—

  • Do you like or dread alone time?
  • What do you like to do when you are alone?

{Image by Belhoula Amir}

6 Comments

  1. Jeanette Hild
    August 1, 2015 / 12:43 pm

    I enjoy sitting out on the porch soaking up my alone time with a nice cold glass of tea listening to the sounds of summer soaking up the fresh air! Moments like that always bring a soft smile to
    My face:) just want to tell you hiw much I enjoy your blog:)

    • August 1, 2015 / 6:52 pm

      Ooooh, that sounds nice. The cold tea sounds especially refreshing during this hot weather. And thank you! I’m glad you are enjoying it.

  2. August 3, 2015 / 10:33 am

    I hate alone time. I hate it so much that I don’t realize I need to be alone in order to function as a real and social human. I fill up my time as much as possible and run on empty until I need a whole day alone to get my levels back up to normal. Moderation is key!

    • August 4, 2015 / 8:44 pm

      Moderation is totally key. I’m realizing that so much from the other side of the coin in terms of being ok with just little snippets of alone time, rather than holding out for big chunks.

  3. October 3, 2015 / 1:17 pm

    I feel like I could’ve written this exact post! I love my alone time but also struggle with figuring out what to do with it when I have it because it’s a rarity. I also like making lists because if it’s on paper, I can stop thinking about (and stressing over) it and then I can use my alone time wisely. Though sometimes you just need to curl up with a coffee and a book. ;)

    • October 3, 2015 / 1:24 pm

      Agreed! Coffee and a book has a way of making life feel calm amidst whatever stress.

What do you think?