The art of being alone
Perhaps some will think that this column should be titled The Anthem of the Introvert, but I think all people need to attempt to understand the true meaning of being alone, as well as practice aloneness. At least in my generation, Ive noticed a disturbing lack of differentiation between being alone and being lonely. There isnt even a fine line between the two, theres a glaringly large difference.
I always feel slightly more credible if I have something to source in my columns, so I googled being alone. Disturbingly enough, there is a WikiHow page on How to Enjoy Being Alone. The suggestions are as bad as ever, though, listing things like Be happy and Join an online community as steps to enjoying yourself.
You arent alone when you are sitting alone, on your phone, doing something so you dont feel stupid being by yourself. You are alone when you are aware that you are not connected to anyone, and you dont mind it.
And you cant force yourself to be happy whilst being alone. Sometimes, you slip into the state of loneliness, but other times you feel liberated. I sincerely hope that people dont actually put their faith in that WikiHow page.
Its peaceful, really. Immediately, you begin to become aware of your breathing and how your normal breaths are shallow and unfulfilling. You become aware of how sweet and fresh Oregon air is and how your environment is beautiful. Finally, you can hear yourself think, uninterrupted by other peoples thoughts. You start to notice things, like how the frogs sound louder this year than last year, and what the air smells like right before it rains.
Maybe you already know these things, without being alone, but you feel them within you. Its only when Im alone that I feel like I am a part of nature, not just some alien planted into the world with a species set on destroying it.
Aloneness is the physical state of not having any one else present. As obvious as that probably sounds, its important to note. Loneliness is the aching sadness that one can suffer from feeling alone (but not necessarily being alone). The art of being alone, I suppose, comes in establishing that being alone does not require that you feel lonely. People can feel incredibly lonely while surrounded by people. In fact, those times might be the loneliest of times. You arent technically alone, but youve never felt more so. This is loneliness, the forlornness that comes with feeling alone in an overpopulated world.
Solitude can be a beautiful thing. It can relieve so many of the stresses that exist in your life. You can appreciate yourself more, the singularity of you and your mind and your existence. I am not entirely sure what the purpose was of this column, other than to encourage aloneness. In a society that is evolving more and more into one of constant connectivity, it is becoming more and more necessary that we let go of the ties we have with other people for a few moments. And not just the moments when you have to be alone, like when youre in the shower and whatnot (dont people say that the shower is the place they do the best thinking?).
Making the decision to be alone is entirely different, and that much more liberating.
Anisha Adke is a senior at Lakeridge High School, and she writes a monthly column for the Review. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.JW_DISQUS_ADD_A_COMMENT