Going at Life Alone

boyfriend

I told my mom this morning that having the week off, you’d think I’d come up with some sort of project around the house to preoccupy myself with, but “I don’t like doing projects alone.”

That made me stop and think.

It’s true. Oh, I can organize something alone, but I don’t enjoy it nearly as much as I do when someone else is with me. I can paint a wall alone, but it’s more fun if a friend helps out. It has nothing to do with less work spread between two people and everything to do with kinship. Spending time together. Talking. Sharing.

Aren’t we all that way? Isn’t it more fun to see a movie with a friend than to go alone? Doesn’t it motivate you more to exercise if you’re doing it with someone? I hear all the time how people “enjoy” their “spin class,” or “karate class,” or “exercise class.” I’m willing to bet it’s not the class itself that they enjoy so much as the time spent with other people doing the same thing. It gives a sense of unity, a shared appreciation and/or experience, a similar goal. Usually, it’s not about the what, it’s about the who.

Much as I enjoy watching the shows I do, I always feel an intense pang of loneliness at the end of the hour, because I have no one to share them with, no one to talk about them with, no one to identify with my viewing experience. Talking about them later isn’t even the same as living in the moment; that first flush of excitement fades and leaves me wondering what there is to discuss. I want to share each moment together, to share the angst or the happiness, to react at the same time, to feel that connection to another person that only comes from being next to them.

One of our deepest desires is to connect with others, no matter how independent or introverted we are; deep down, we all want shared experiences. We want them to be there, in that moment, at our side, as tangible, literal human contact. That’s natural. It’s what God intended. Frodo needed Sam to make it to Mount Doom; he couldn’t have done it on his own. Yet so many of us are trying to do it alone, trying to rely only on online relationships to satisfy our aching desire for human contact, only to wonder why we’re so unhappy. As wonderful as an online-only friend can be, your heart is still going to want human contact. You need it in order to be emotionally satisfied.

Maybe we can do life alone, but is that what’s best for us?

22 thoughts on “Going at Life Alone

  1. I’m always at my best when someone is pushing me gently, riding me a bit. Does that come from my childhood? I don’t know. I just know that I can get 60% more done when I have a buddy on hand. Might be the social creatures in us.

  2. This is why I’ve only had one job I disliked; sure, there are things I didn’t like about different jobs, but I have good memories from all my jobs but one, and that’s because I didn’t like anyone I worked with (well, with the exception of one guy I worked with who was filling in from another store). But the connections I had with the people I worked with left me with many happy memories filing tapes or mixing dough or even washing dishes!

    • Whether or not you like someone really does change your emotional dynamic — there have been groups I haven’t enjoyed being a part of because I didn’t like ONE person there! Shallow, but true.

  3. I love that you put this into the perspective “online and real context.” The perspective that you’re an online friends are (not present.) I find it interesting because you can reach people anytime. Although because of your blog I been able to open up and speak my mind in the [real world.] I love that you brought this to my attention (ie. Available to read…) I had a lot of “friends.” In the light of “my” truth I find whom is well fitted for me to associate with. While, one can endure a bad relationship or not. I am not one to conclude that my notions are correct or fit for anyone in that matter. I speak my mind in front of people, so that way they know who I am and no false notions are factors. To me now it has brought good people that I can speak to. that way people won’t hide behind something they consider “the norm.” By the norm, I mean popular views or opinion for any matter. We all provide a different understanding; yet, some don’t seem to think about what choices they make. I am not a monomaniac but yeah… Sometimes I am confused when people make and/or made decisions. Like huh… I learn just to go about my business. That way they exercise their [freedom of choice.] I choose my friends like at a candy store. From the people I couldn’t get a long I somehow learned a lot. I find good people more welcome though…

    • We all need contact in the real world
    • We learn but can somehow live amongst each other. (ie. this makes it great) ;-)
    • My take is to create myself, (if someone comes along that’s great.)
    • We do all enjoy company… Of course!!! “not all the time though.”
    • The internet opens us up to this available world; which, we can exchange ideas.
    • Physical contact that’s what we seek outside of online.
    • Yet, not everything we reads is always 100% true. [Something’s contradict themselves.]

    That’s enough of me… Charity great blog…

    Sincerely,

    P.S. [some people] we’ll get confused by this blog. “read between the lines.” <<>>

    Angel

  4. I completely agree. I’m so thankful for my sisters (I have 3 of them), because whenever I’m lonely, i can always talk to one of them. :)

  5. I’m not to say one would be best off going through life entirely alone, not ever doing any activities in groups or cooperation with someone. But i would say, that there’s a certain tranquil and beauty, a certain clarity and undisturbed peace, in venturing the journey with naught but self. As da Vinci put it: “If you are alone you belong entirely to yourself. If you are accompanied by even one companion you belong only half to yourself or even less in proportion to the thoughtlessness of his conduct and if you have more than one companion you will fall more deeply into the same plight.”

    Now people are different, some find understanding through chatter with friends, whilst others might find that understanding comes best through introspection, alone. I would argue that the primitive origins of men have us vulnerable to fallacies thelikes of group think and conformity, the hysterias of masses. Alone in tranquil the rationale is absolute.

    And certainly, one might find meaning in togetherness, find the motivations and driving force to live. Feel the flux of emotions and chaos, the wild highway of life with all its invigorating bumps. But that highway is not for everybody. Reflection comes hard being thrown around, tugged at, constantly being pulled back to the realm of flesh and bone and men. It is in the bleak solitude i find the mind can travel, where one is truly free of form and norm. First there the intricacies of thought comes to its peak, in the depths of self where one finds the truest enlightenment.

    • I’m mostly talking about having tangible friends in your life, as opposed to living a solitary existence in which your only human companionship comes through a machine (computer, internet, fictional characters, etc). I spent plenty of time alone, but I still crave human companionship — and friends make facing an uncertain future less frightening.

  6. Well said. Life is truly about connection, and I fear the Internet, as great as it is, is destroying connections. And for many, introverted and extroverted, I don’t think it’s a want to go it alone, rather the technological age had made it much more difficult to find and meet people. Least I see it that way.

    • I think technology has made us less likely to reach out to others in “real life,” since sometimes we assume we don’t “need” them since we have our “online friends.” But you can’t truly know someone online, because there, you see only what they want you to see. My online friends assume they know me — but they don’t. They don’t know what tickles my funny bone, or the expressions I make, or the exclamations I let loose while watching television. Much as I love them, they’re not present.

  7. I completely identify. I’ve been going through a case of the “loneliness blues” lately, and this sort of hit it on the head. Of course coming back from a trip doesn’t help, I miss the people I saw so insanely much. It’s been a week and the blues are still hanging around. Darn you college! You take everyone away!

  8. Great post! I think there is something to this however I also think it’s good for us to have some alone time – how you spend it (praying, reading or movie-watching) is up to each individual. For me, I am rarely alone so sometimes I crave time alone. For example while I basically watch all of my TV shows with my mom (just because we’re close, always have and share similar tastes), I have in fact begun watching movies by myself because many of them are liked by only me. Painting my room alone didn’t bother me (I just put in the ear buds and went crazy) but it was also fun to have Liz over to help. If there is one thing re-connecting with people has taught me, it’s how much I’ve missed seeing those people. And it’s been lovely.

    There are pros and cons to both (being in a group or with a friend or being alone). It all depends on the person or sometimes, it’s as simple as our mood. :)

    • I’m not denying the importance of alone time — God knows I’m a total introvert and I’d go insane if I were around people all the time. But my point is, we need “real” people in our lives, not just to pour our hearts out to a machine. True, there’s a real person on the other end of the internet, but we need people we can interact with in person to fulfill the emptiness of our heart. I watch things alone all the time — but sometimes, I wish someone was there to discuss them with, because for me, watching something is never a mindless experience — discussing it adds a layer of intense enjoyment I can’t obtain any other way.

  9. That’s one reason I have enjoyed getting back into playing pen and paper RPG’s.

    It’s fun hanging out with people

  10. You’re totally right, Charity. Case in point, I went bouldering yesterday (a form of indoor climbing with no ropes or helmets, and big crash mats). I’m very new to it, and can only manage Level 3 climbs on a very good day, but I’m quite happy with that. I could go alone, but would I? No fear! When I choose to go climbing depends on when my friend Zoe goes. She’s more of a level 7 climber, but due to the way the routes are set up we can climb side by side, and chat, and help each other figure out routes (although that’s more her job than mine at the moment!), and spur each other on. Climbing is good, but climbing with Zoe is better!

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