That quote has always been one of my favorites because it describes me pretty well. I’ve never had a problem being alone. Even as a kid I spent more time on my own with only a dog for company, making up games and playing out scenes from the ever present fantasy movie in my head. (Hmm, and that’s different from now — how?) When you’re a kid, and you’re a loner, other kids think you’re weird and adults think there must be a problem. That problem, they decided, was that I was shy.
People who know me now don’t believe I was ever considered shy. It’s true, though. Because I kept to myself and didn’t like to get involved in anything that included more than a few people of similar ilk, I bore the stigma of <cue music> the shy girl.
Not that I cared. That just made it easier for me to be on my own. I had an out.
Now that I’m an adult, or at least much older than I was then, I’ve come to realize my desire for solitude had nothing to do with being a shy introvert and everything to do with the fact that, even as a child, I was creative.
Creative people need solitude. As Leo Babauta put it, “The best art is created in solitude, for good reason: it’s only when we are alone that we can reach into ourselves and find truth, beauty, soul. “
Solitude is where we find our focus. Where we can more easily access those parts of our psyche where dwell our ever illusive muses. Which, coincidentally enough, happens to be pretty darn close to the place where dwell our demons. And they need to be faced, those demons, which is probably one reason many people choose not to be alone. That and fear of loneliness. But the very ability to choose solitude sets it apart from loneliness which is, in general, not a self-induced state.
Those of us who relish our solitude, who need it because we’re driven to create, actively seek it out. We carve out spots in our homes and our lives where we can work, undisturbed. We take walks by ourselves. Curl up in a corner with a good book. Sit and watch the sunset or the ocean waves. We leave the internet, the smart phones, and the TV some place else, even if just for an hour or two.
That’s not to say we don’t enjoy time with family and friends.
It doesn’t mean we’re all anti-social hermits.