On being alone: loneliness vs. solitude

So many people assume that solitude must necessarily entail loneliness, that no one would ever choose to be alone, even for a while.

Don't get me wrong - I like being with people, being with family and friends. I like talking, listening, eating and drinking with people.

However, I also enjoy being alone. I like going to new places alone, walking unfamiliar streets alone. There is a kind of freedom in gliding quietly, anonymously through the world. In the coffee shop, the restaurant, the book store, the mall... stopping and looking at things, walking past without a glance, moving slow or moving fast, just as the day suggests itself to you.

This isn't about taking time to write in my head, to plot or plan or parse. It's just time to let the noise of the world drain out of my ears, leaving them more open to be refilled with sound when I rejoin society.

I found this video on a post by Roger Ebert about lonely people.

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  1. That was hypnotic and quite amazing. And it was done by the National Film Board of Canada, of course!!! (They do the best short films).
    Thanks for sharing!

  2. I had never thought about it before, but yeah, I kind of prefer going to new places alone. I can take my time. Stay if I want, leave if I want. That's the thing that makes moving to a new city exciting for me. And maybe it's time in my life for that to happen again.

  3. I spend a lot of time alone. Even when my g/f was planning to move in with me, we made sure the place we picked had a separate office for me, and for her, so we each had a place in the house to be alone.

    I almost always hike alone, as well, because there's something magical about walking through the natural world with nothing to distract you.

  4. Awesome video. Thank you for that. It's the way I feel and yet there have been so many people (family) throughout my life that questioned my choices and made me feel like there was something wrong with me.


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