Alone Time is Good Time, For Most

Maybe it comes from having to pretty much fend for myself in childhood, then choosing to live by myself once I was out of the house.  But I've always known that being alone is a good thing.

Now a new survey agrees. "Consumers who forego hedonic activities alone are missing out on opportunities for rewarding experiences," esearchers wrote, according to Science Of Us, as presented at cnn.com.

There's a big difference, of course, between aloneness and loneliness.   But I'm sure that's why I was drawn to the man who became my husband. We both needed alone time.  That's also the reason why, at times, we've had problems with our marriage.  And unfortunately, it seems we've passed it on to our son, who is a solitary soul, too.

Alone time, to me, means being free to do what I want, without anyone else around.  I used to be afraid to be alone with my thoughts when I was younger -- they were primarily all about how I didn't measure up, in one way or another. But not so much anymore (age does have a good side!).  In fact, I welcome it now.  Maybe it's also because I have a 13-year-old son who, while requiring a whole lot less from me these days, still wants me to watch soccer on TV with him (and be up on what "parking the bus" means and figure out that "hat trick" has nothing to do with hats).

But I value my alone time and am really happy when I can get it, especially when it's not just when I'm running. Love that, too. (Once a friend suggested running together and I looked at her like she'd asked me to set my house on fire.)

I think alone time can be a lifesaver.  I know it's certainly been for me.  When I've been going through crises in my life, and there have been many, the best way to cope was to go off by myself.  And when something bad happens -- like my son not getting into AITE, or actually being selected as "most likely to be president" for the yearbook by his teachers (but not winning the actual election), or like it did this week -- losing one lucrative free-lance job, finding out I need minor surgery, then learning the office where I currently work will close in June -- I need to go somewhere quiet, where I can go deep inside and just let it sit, take a deep breath and then move on from there.  (I have to admit, this week it was pretty tough!).

Leigh Weingus writes at huffingtinpost.com that Americans have a complicated time with aloneness.  Social media, work, school.  There's people everywhere.  But it helps us be more creative (I do my best "writing" when I'm running), and actually makes us work harder, she says.   And, best of all, it helps clear your mind. 


But I sometimes fear I spend too much time alone, and I use this to keep my distance from my husband.  He's perfectly happy to exercise (his joy) and do his thing without me around. .But I think it's a way of avoiding intimacy, which we are both very good at.

I need my down time, but so does he.  And we've finally come to a place where it's okay, and we can come back together later, once we've each had our separation.

I knew when I met Larry that he was the one for me.  He liked that I traveled for work (in fact, a couple of days after we got married, I left for California for a week, and it's only now that I realize how much I needed that time, to get used to having a mother-in-law and all the other threatening commitments that come with it!). 

He likes that I don't need him to call me during the day.  In fact, we usually don't speak at all -- and often, when he sees my cell phone number come up, he doesn't answer, and the same for me.  I remember a salesperson being shocked when I called to ask his shirt size (I always forget) and he didn't pick up.  We know if it's urgent one of us will call back.  People think we're really strange but it works for us.

So the trick is to be alone, and enjoy it.  It's taken me a long time to get it right, but when you do, hey, what can beat spending time with your favorite person?

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