I read an article the other day that included a “Loners’ Manifesto.” So, I made a note to write about it because I can be a reluctant socializer. Steve was the same way. We both preferred staying home. Now that he is gone, I am still a reluctant socializer. From time to time, I have thought that I should “link and connect”. So I have joined some local expat groups, like The American Club of the Riviera and International Women’s Club of the Riviera. I’m often secretly pleased when social plans are called off. Sometimes, I just don’t go. I am not much one for “hanging out”. I love silence. Maybe a little classical music, but I always like silence. And small talk gets boring. So, I can relate to author Anneli Rufus, who recounted in Party of One: The Loners’ Manifesto:
“When parents on TV shows punished their kids by ordering them to go to their rooms, I was confused. I loved my room. Being there behind a locked door was a treat. To me a punishment was being ordered to play Yahtzee with my cousin Louis.”
Asocial tendencies like these get a bad “rep”. But there are a lot of us who simply prefer being alone and like “alone time”. AND, there is emerging research that suggests there are upsides to being reclusive – finally. YES!!
One key benefit is improved creativity. Gregory Feist, who focuses on the psychology of creativity at California’s San Jose State University, has found that personality traits commonly associated with creativity are receptiveness to new thoughts and experiences, confidence, and possibly “a preference for being alone”, thus having a lesser interest in socializing in order to spend time alone working on his/her craft. Solitude allows for the reflection and observation necessary for that creative process. It does for me. That doesn’t preclude being with others. I simply prefer being alone Both. That gives me just enough interaction.
PLUS, solitude is important for mental focus. The brain’s state is of active mental rest without distraction. Day-dreaming and giving free rein to a wandering mind not only helps with focus in the long term but strengthens your sense of both yourself and others. Nurturing a few solid relationships without feeling the need to constantly populate my life with chattering voices ultimately may be better for me. YES!
And, some thoughts that have given me pause this week (Thanks to the original posters on Facebook):
Craig and Jean are in town. YES! And, my second knee replacement surgery is in a week from Thursday!! Look forward, not backwards. Let go. It’s all good.