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Solitude Becomes Inertia

06 November 2013

When Solitude Becomes Isolation | Psychology Today

This is something I have been thinking about recently and haven't had a chance to write about it. Then Sophia Dembling decided to write about it before I did.

I certainly enjoy my solitude and enjoy it plenty. One of my daily goals is after leaving home for work, church or elsewhere is to return home as efficiently as I can, wasting no time as I go. This accounts for every day of the week no matter what.

Though in my solitude I at times consider how healthy the amount of time I spend alone is. I can actually feel in myself when I've been out of contact with others for more than a couple of days and then I know I need to get out and do something, something more than saying hello at a drive-thru window. Those are the times I am glad to go back to work after a long weekend or vacation time where I spent the time alone. If it wasn't for my attendance at church twice a week I'd really be in more trouble with solitude and isolation because then all of my social interactions would be at work. At least with church I am going out a few times week and spending additional time with people I like. Though I still don't always participate in group functions and I really should once in a while.

I do fear that if I ever won the mega-millions lottery that I could end up in a log cabin in a remote location of the Rocky Mountains and having the nearest Internet company install high-speed fiber-optic cables to it for an astronomical amount of money that I could easily afford! Thus I would not only be in solitude, but social and physical isolation.

As much as the thought is amusing to me, in the long run it may not be the healthiest thing for me either. Depression is a serious problem and one that is hard to overcome for many people. If I can take steps to avoid falling into it, I will and I have. To date in my life, I don't think I've ever been depressed and I'm thankful for that. I hope that continues and I never succumb to it.

One problem I often run into with some friends is that they're not planners. They're spontaneous. I'll get a call or text to come out to breakfast - right now - with no prior warning. That's very difficult for me to come to terms with because I hate the last-minute call to do something and I almost always turn those requests down. To get me to go out to breakfast or anything, it's very helpful to me if I am given a few hours or a days' notice that they want to do something. Then I can plan my day or what's left of it around that and make time for it. Otherwise if I don't get significant notice, it isn't going to happen.

We have to strike a balance in ourselves and get out there and socialize enough to make and keep friends. That will help keep our mental health strong while allowing enough time for solitude to keep our social batteries charged.

Download the pdf version with pictures here.