Tuesday, January 3, 2012
I should say it plain my dear girlfriends…. I enjoy spending time alone.
In fact some of my favourite moments are those spent at a café or a museum with only my thoughts (and my neuroses) t keep me company. Although I do happily participate in the company of others I will admit that I am, I guess a bit of a loner.
I realize this is a bit of a shock, given my overwhelming extroverted nature. Most extroverts need to be around other people. I too enjoy spending time with others.
That being said- I do like playing it solo. Make no mistake- I am not one of those people who wants to sit in a silent room alone with their thoughts. That is JUST NOT ME. No, I like to sit in a rather noisy café or march along a rather crowded street or play it solo in a fabulous shopping experience. I like to be what I would call… NOISEY ALONE. Alone in concept but not in actual fact. It is heaven.
Let’s take today for instance… no not Tuesday, the day this blog will be read, but rather New Year’s Eve- the day this blog was written. Here I sit in a café having just had a lovely soup and reading my newspaper. I am by myself at a table and can feel myself relax as the moments tick by.
Make no mistake my girlfriends, I do love enjoy the company of others. I find people to be really interesting and stimulating most of the time…. Except those who aren’t and I try not to spend time with them…. You know how you are…. It’s not your fault your boring- I’m sure you are good at other things.
I am the only one in this café who is flying solo… but I do know that a table for one is more and more common nowadays than one would think.
What is that? Is there a science to solitude? Don’t human beings function better in packs?
According to an article published in The History of Social Behaviour in 2003, there is a benefit to SOLITUDE.
The authors of the article, “ Solitude: An exploration of the Benefits of Being Alone” (yeh, they state their bias up front) make a clear distinction between solitude and loneliness. Solitude in contrast to loneliness is a positive state- one that has been chose by the individual. IN that it s already empowering because someone had a choice in who they were going to spend their time with.
Solitude is sought out actively, rather than avoided (as is often the case with loneliness). Furthermore the authors are quite clear in stating that solitude is a state of being whereas loneliness is more of a feeling as result of being alone.
The authors point out that time spent alone is different across a lifespan. People who actively seek times of solitude have been shown in two specific examples in the article to be more productive and more creative.
For example two studies highlighted in the article out of Harvard University show that students study better by themselves than they do in groups. Retention of information and test scores were higher among groups of students who study independently than those who engage in group study. Now, girlfriends- this could be selection bias…. If you have to study in a group- you might not be able to do as well on a test than if you have to study by yourself…. Think on it. Get back to me.
Another area where solitude has been shown to be beneficial is in the creative arts arena- writers, painters, artists- all do better with their craft on a solitary basis.
There you have it. I’m not suggesting the whole “we live alone, we die alone” theory. But isn’t it nice once in a while to shut the world away and be in the company of perfect strangers- no commentary necessary, no one there to ask you what you are thinking or how was your day?
Me? I get it. Fuelled by this new scientific data I will continue my solitary habits. Sure, no woman is an island but as for me? I shop alone.