I recently went to a café on my own. When the air conditioning began to bother me I asked to be seated elsewhere, upon which the waiter said, “only the tables in the back are free but you might feel very lonely there.” As someone who has held a lifelong belief that this feeling is positive rather than negative, I simply replied, “I’d actually like that very much.” The waiter smiled and I went to the back to enjoy my solitude.
I think that the value of solitude is one of the most overlooked things in today’s crowded, chaotic, and fast world. It’s the best way to recharge, increase my productivity, and get to know myself. As someone who dislikes mandatory small talk (and therefore chooses to avoid casual acquaintances, when possible), I value the ability to choose rather than be subjected to something. Eating alone, reading a book in the park, going to the movies, taking a walk, and sometimes just stopping, are all reasons for happiness in my life. That’s why this photo (which I shot during an evening when I grabbed a beer and went to watch a Woody Allen film) reminds me of the beautiful feeling of being happy with oneself.
In today’s fast paced lives, there’s also the issue of being along physically, but being crowded conceptually. The people you follow on social media, your WhatsApp group messages, and your e-mails don’t leave you alone. You can truly enjoy that daily dose of pure solitude by staying away from technology as much as possible.
I also believe that this type of solitude affects relationships positively. I think the first condition for happiness in a relationship is the ability to be a joyful person when alone and to choose the company of another only because you enjoy it, not due to dependence.
If the idea of solitude is already part of your life, then good for you, and if not then buy a single ticket to any event tonight. You’ll see what a great evening it will be.