"I think it's very healthy to spend time alone. You need to know how to be alone and not be defined by another person." - Oscar Wilde
As I take a long, hard look at myself and my personal influence on this world (part of what we were asked to do in Vision and Commitment Sunday), what is increasingly obvious to me that I'm someone who actually needs periods of time alone. It's more than just 'enjoying my own company' - it's beneficial. I use the time to recharge my emotional batteries. Batteries that are quickly drained in real life, dealing with crowds of people. It's vital for me to regain my balance. I'll read, listen to music, catch up on TV, write, blog. Finding things to do when you're alone is not a problem.
After sufficient recharging time, I come out from my corner, fighting fit, ready to face another day. How long does it take to recharge? It varies - just like your mobile phone, you need to check on it from time to time. A couple of hours, the rest of the day. As for me, I'm not quite so bright if I'm running on half a charge. If I haven't had enough 'me-time'.
I don't have problems with alone. What I have difficulties with being considered lonely.
There's a big, big difference.
Loneliness is a feeling of isolation, an increasing realisation that when it comes to the crunch, "the buck stops here" and there's no-one else in your corner, there's no-one else to turn to. It's having no peers, no like-minded friends. (Or, no-one at that moment.) It's those cases when you need meaningful social contact, and yet you are unable to get any.
Aloneness is different. Aloneness is freedom. There's a strange sense of calm that comes from relaxing in your own company. You don't have to be on guard any more. Being alone is settling down with a box set of DVDs and working through the box. Or curling up with a good book - or several. It's having an evening off with absolutely no other plans made. Sure, you give of yourself most nights of the week, volunteering for this, that and the other. You're that strange, selfless individual. Well, tonight's your night. You can be selfish once in a while. Nobody needs to come to save you from being alone, because you don’t want them to. Because you don’t need to be saved.
I want to be alone. I don't want to be lonely.
Does that make sense?