Author Harvey Mackay once wrote that the only time you’re truly alone is when you’re about to die and when you’re about to give a speech. While there’s definitely some truth (and humor) in that statement, there’s also a lot more to being alone than we sometimes realize. And by “alone” I mean not having another person in the same room or general area as you — not the lack of a significant other.
While many people do appreciate their alone time, and some even prefer it, it can be a tricky time for the some of us. I appreciate alone time every now and then to read, work and gather my thoughts, but I love being around people. When I was in graduate school, I found myself with a lot more alone time than I was used to because most of friends were working or off campus for the weekend. At first it didn’t bother me so much, but after a while it started getting to me. I just found myself unhappy and couldn’t understand why. Eventually things changed and I had plenty of company whenever I wanted it. But I still find it interesting how being alone can have some odd effects on people.
Being alone is a crazy time because it gives our minds time to wander.
Sometimes it’s refreshing because you can think clearly and without interruption. Other times it has a negative effect on us as we start thinking thoughts that make us wonder if there’s something wrong with us.
It also allows us to do things we might not do when others are present. Again, on the positive side maybe we practice singing or dancing without fear of embarrassment. On the negative side, we might slack off a little bit and do an activity that wastes time. In extreme cases, people can do some things that are destructive to themselves or even others — remember that most suicides happen when the person is alone.
So what’s the lesson here? Alone time can be good or bad depending on your situation. Just keep this in mind and try to use it to your advantage. If you’re not feeling well mentally, spend time with others that make you feel better as opposed to being alone. It’s like when you have a stomach ache, sometimes a good meal will help you feel better. If you need time to focus and think things out, then set aside some time to be alone — you’ll be more productive and then can be more present when you’re around others.