“I love to be alone. I never found the companion that was so companionable as solitude.” (Henry David Thoreau in “Walden”)
With this you might get an idea where I’m heading to. When asked “What’s the most time you’ve ever spent apart from your favorite person?“, I’m compelled to laugh and answer “All the fucking time!” Yes, I’m talking about myself. While I’m not at all narcissistic, not I’m altruistic, I have this love-hate relationship with myself. I tend to be my own biggest critic while being at peace with myself too.
Talking about time spent with your most favourite, least or anything of that sort leads to discussions about social-individual bonding. If you want to lead a very healthy life, avoid diseases and early death, there is an abundance of medical studies with often conflicting advice like chocolates and alcohol being good for you, does cigarettes and cell phone radiation cause cancer? and the list goes on.
Of them, personally I want to talk about loneliness. Or rather how it is generally perceived. There are studies which show loneliness having negative effects on your life, from your self-esteem, relationship with people and even bold claims of high risk of death. (They have some study for everything these days)
Often I find this term is highly confused with “being alone”. Well they sound almost dam same, but there is difference and a big misconception among people who often confuse the two. I personally almost never feel lonely when I am alone, but I do many a times feel lonely when I am in a group of people. Being alone, I always find something to do, explore, think, watch, shoot, read or write about. But when I am in a group, I’m usually the odd one out, philosophically, intellectually, socially and emotionally. Yeah I’m the freaky sensation wherever I’m or the unnoticed ‘nameless one’ (get it?)
I know many people calling them as ‘friends’ (the term so arguably debatable with ten other terms which can be used and scaled with) I usually end up with the fact that friends are a ‘luxury’ I don’t have. I don’t mean to say I’m a complete sociopath but the point I’m trying to make is that loneliness is not the matter of the number of people you know or meet but more of quality than quantity. (After all, most of us will be happier with one really good girlfriend than with multiple flings, I guess)
And being a one man/woman army has its own perks, you tend to be more independent and reliable than the other way around. And to those who would say this leads to low self-esteem, depression and being suicidal, that is very arguable since it depends on the individual and not a direct implication.
I’m not promoting loneliness of being a good thing or as such, but spending time with yourself can teach you a great deal of things and give you a very different perspective of the world around you. Even if being social might be life-prolonging, the time spent talking to uninteresting people or being bored at parties is not worth the investment if I can instead use the time for myself.
At the innermost core of all loneliness is a deep and powerful yearning for union with one’s lost self.