How much time do you spend alone? Absolutely by yourself. No friends, no baes. Just you. If I had been asked this question a couple years ago, I’d have to admit that not much time is spent alone. I’d proudly state that I’m an extrovert so I’m supposed to be around people all the time. Even after a clearer, more informed definition of intro/extravert-ism, I’d still probably say that I get energized from being around others, so I’m definitely an extrovert. But I realize now that that isn’t the case. I realized that isn’t a truth for me only after I started spending my alone time better.
Before, I’d think of alone time as just being at home, watching tv or something alone. And that idea of aloneness didn’t seem attractive to me. Why watch this movie alone when I can watch it with a boo or a friend?
But since then, I’ve come to really appreciate alone time because the definition of it has changed. I now see alone time as time to build, well, ME! I haven’t always realized the importance of working on me, all by myself, but now I look forward to and make time especially for alone time. While alone time can happen anytime, my designated alone time is on Sunday afternoon/evenings. The workweek is always pretty busy and time after work is usually spent winding down/relaxing if not at an event. Saturday seems to be the day to just get things done, running errands I may not get to in the week. So, Sundays are just the right days to focus on Joya. The older I get, the more focused I am on changing the things about me that I’m not satisfied with, and enhancing the things I am. I actively seek out books that speak to my shortcomings, and any time I read them in my alone time, I feel like its alone time well spent because I’m a better person after it. Even if only by a little bit. I’ve come to learn that THAT is what truly energizes me.
I started writing this post a couple months ago and the concept of “alone” has developed in many ways since then.
I realize that many are not alone by choice. There’s a significant number of people who suffer from pains of losing loved ones, difficult breakups etc. Its important, however, that even forced time alone be spent wisely. Circumstances happen for reasons often beyond our control and understanding, but if we have lived through them, there’s still time to work on, develop, build, enhance…us! And that time is precious.
When the time comes that we realize what the tough, forced alone time was all for (if we ever get that understanding) we should want to be wiser, stronger, better in as many ways possible when we greet that next chapter, and that betterment often comes by way of quality alone time. I want to have read what I needed to, tasted what I was supposed to, experienced what I was meant to when that time comes.
Even Christ himself understood the beauty in alone. When His disciples ‘nem got back from city-hopping, telling folks about about God, Jesus was like ‘cool, now let’s go off by ourselves to a quiet place and rest a while.’ (Mark 6:31) Bible says they did that because so many people were coming and going that they didn’t even have time to eat! If JESUS thinks its important to just chill and regroup sometimes, then I think there’s something to it.
In the sea of annoying insta-quotes and memes, I recently saw one that I really liked. “I’ll only have you if you’re sweeter than my solitude.” That phrase can only be true if you actually enjoy or appreciate your alone time. How many meaningless relationships could be avoided if we all really took time to know and love ourselves? When you truly love, value, honor, respect YOURSELF, it's really hard to let people half love or disrespect you. I think it’s healthy for us all to learn to be alone and to like it. No this is not a call for all to be loners, (I don’t consider myself one at all), but the older I get the more I see the importance of time alone.
So whether its getting up a half hour earlier in the morning or carving out a Sunday afternoon, find some time to enjoy, build, develop you. Write down some thoughts, read a book, go eat or see a movie alone. Do something with just you from time to time and see how much more you like yourself. :)