Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Bowling Alone? Yes, Thank You

I just spent five hours playing video games, by myself, and I don't regret it. I don't want my five hours back to sit on a bar stool, talk about Breaking Bad, watch whatever game is on with other fans, or do something, anything, else with another person. Constant company for a good life is one more piece of conventional wisdom I've scuttled. I like going home and bolting the door. I like to read, think, watch Netflix, play with my dog, and putter around the yard. None of this requires another person. I don't keep up with the Joneses and nobody gives me a hard time about much of anything.

I've read that being alone is as bad for you as smoking, but as we like to say, correlation isn't causation. Even if it is in this case, I'll take my own company and take my chances.

If you're lonely, I empathize. I've been there. But not all of us loners want company. If togetherness is so good, why have houses gotten so much bigger and households so much smaller? People used to raise four kids in a two-bedroom bungalow; now that we can afford it, it's two kids in a McMansion. The parents stay on even after the kids (and perhaps the spouse) have left. Come to think of it, when human ancestors became meat eaters, they spread out and became thinner on the ground. They were vulnerable to predators, and without a fire during the day, or while they hunted, constant yammering wouldn't have done. We may be social animals, but we aren't herd animals.

As Susan Cain put it, there's a name for such people: thinkers.

8 comments:

Running Stitches said...

If you are alone, it doesn't mean you are lonely or lonesome. I relish my few hours of early morning solitude.

I like this poem about being alone performed in the video
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k7X7sZzSXYs

Lori Miller said...

I like it.

tess said...

IN SPADES. :-) i HAVE to be alone some, or i lose my mind!

Lori Miller said...

One of the things I missed during basic training was silence.

Angel said...

I just had to explain a few days ago to a friend (that thought I should have no problem finding a date for a social event) that I live like a hermit. I didn't have the opportunity to explain to him that I like it. I like the long stretches of solitude and silence. I have a handful of good friends, whom I see once or twice a week, and that's it for social interaction. No, I don't have a pool of guy friends to draw on for the once-or-twice yearly ought-to-have-a-date social event; I am so accustomed to going about my business alone, that I don't even think much about going to social events alone either. I am just grateful that I live in a time and culture that doesn't ostracize women for being alone and independent.

Lori Miller said...

I've quit going to such events. For me, they involve either coworkers, whom I see every day, or family, whom I don't have a thing in common with.

Lowcarb team member said...

"If you're lonely, I empathize."

Yes loneliness and being alone, are quite different. It is always nice to enjoy some 'me' time. But many 'older' folk do get lonely and a smile from a friend and a cheerful 'hello, how are you' works wonders.

All the best Jan

Lori Miller said...

As my father says, if you want a friend, be a friend.