the importance of being alone

Today, I walked back home from college all alone, and it was one of the most satisfying experiences that I’ve had in a long time. I usually travel by bike but today I decided walk. It was sunny at first, but later became cloudy and drizzled a little. It was so pleasant.

Many years back, when I was in school, I used to travel by bus all around the city, sitting by the window, staring at strangers pass by and thinking about myself, my future, and the like. I miss that now. I’ve never given any time for myself in the past couple of years at all. There are always multiple thoughts running in my mind – all at once. It’s like one big traffic jam of thoughts in my brain, directionless and annoying. Today I learnt how important it was to spent time for “me” and not think/worry about anything for some time. I also realized that I am the most happy when I’m with myself. I don’t know how to confer this, but yeah. In his post to the class of 2010, Ben Jones writes, “#9. Carve out an hour every single day to be alone. (Sleeping doesn’t count.)“. This is such a simple thing, but so important and powerful. Of course, I am always alone in my room, but am I really with myself during that time? Not at all. Internet and books provide the best company, but they cannot think on our behalf. We are constantly interacting with people virtually, we never interact with ourselves. I had forgotten what I liked, what I wanted, WHY I wanted what I wanted…

I think the time has become such that we sort our daily schedule for everyone else, but never for ourselves. Our calendars are filled with appointments with other people; one has to take a lot of effort to make an appointment for oneself.

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21 thoughts on “the importance of being alone

  1. I’m a hardcore walker. Most of the time I’m forced to walk at peak hours when buses aren’t available (or it’s dead hard to get on board). So I don’t really find walking very satisfying. :P

  2. In my case, at least, being social deadens the hunger of creation (and appreciation) because one’s energies are used up in constantly making comments on other people and various issues which need no ideating.

    It feels good when someone laughs at a joke which you very smartly executed. Or if everyone watches the movie you recommend, and love it. Even better though, is when you yourself can’t help but giggle at the wisecrack some part of your brain has made. Or when you work on expressing truth in a beautified manner. Likewise, it hurts more to be discouraged by your own logical thought, than to be criticized by someone else.

  3. I completely agree. I think it isbecausei have spent so much time alone and with myself, i have been able to develop. I have very very few friends, and the people i can interact with are all online. once i switch off twitter and facebook, i’m on my own. i take long walks, look out of windows on buses and dream. And i love it. i love the solitude. quoting somebody, “solitude and lonely are not the same things, one is beautiful and the other is sad.” i completely agree. im glad you got time for yourself. :) it’s beautiful to be yourself. I similar post from my side: http://sillyintelligence.tumblr.com/post/7140904153/i-ought-to-be all experienced in solitude.

    • Ditto for me. I sometimes feel the people I talk to on the web understand me and my line of thought more than people from the real world. I have never had many good conversations (except a few) with anyone from college. But sometimes I wish there were more people whom I could talk to in the real world too.
      Thanks a lot for sharing your thoughts, Lakshmi. I’d really like to just sit down and talk to you sometime :-)

  4. I remember the time I used to be alone in MSRIT, as I was the only one travelling from so far. For almost 3 yrs, hardly was in any gang etc. Also with you being in school, busy…I know I had you for company. But I used to take the 45 min activa rides alone, which used to be awesome. I still managed to have so much energy to draft and do other things (internet was new and i used to be on it all the time like you now) ….coming to think of it, I explored so much and used to think of activa as my best friend :P. Commercial street, sultanpet, church street, exhibitions, seminars.. I used to go look at a lot of stuff alone .

    • Thanks for sharing. I remember how much you used to love your activa! Somehow, I have never come to like it that way. I prefer traveling long distances by bus.

  5. I learned to love walking in Delhi… You can really forget everything around you, you can get so engrossed in your thoughts.. especially if you have headphones on.. I’d never really learnt to appreciate the simple sights of the world until that point in my life.. it changed me..

  6. I can totally relate. When I was at University, the distance between my home and University campus was about 1.4 miles. Despite having a car or getting a ride with friends travelling to and from University – I made sure majority of the times I walked there alone and walked back home alone.

    I swear this was done throughout the years, no matter what the weather was. I guess the fun in it was dealing with the weather as well as being on my own – as I very much doubt people would want to walk home with me in a thunder storm or a foot of snow.

    Anyway it use to take me about an hour to get there on foot, and I use to enjoy the moment. It was my time to reflect, and much of my decisions that needed to be made where made during this time. Considering the healthier side of walking it was both stimulating physically and mentally in walking.

    Now I don’t find time any more, although the closest thing I do now is to walk to my train station to work and sometimes walk back home from the same station. It takes about 20 minutes and I enjoy that too but not as much as I use to during University time.

    Reading your post simply took me back to my University days. In fact I might just attempt the same walk and route this weekend just to relive them moments again.

    • Yeah, as we grow old and move on, our alone time decreasing up to a certain point. But it’s nice though. This is when we ‘actually’ need it. I’m sure walking there is a more pleasurable experience than walking in India. Here, the other day, I almost fell into a huge pot hole, had a bus’ exhaust gas fume at my face and had vehicles honk at me for having walked on the main road (there were no foot paths) :-|
      Anyhooo, I hope you got your walking time after reading this post :-)

  7. The part where you mention travelling by bus, sitting by the window, staring at strangers pass by and daydreaming, completely resonates with me. I miss that too :( Somehow, people are forever filling soothing silences with unnecessary, forced chatter. The concept of solitude by choice seems unfathomable to most people. If it isn’t people, it’s our brains trying to kill us by thinking way too much. I, for one, love being by myself and looking at the world in a dreamy haze. Very nicely written…and the photo is a perfect match…keep it up.

  8. Pingback: A journey towards self discovery . . . | Journey Through Nature | Shivakumar L Narayan

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