How Alone Is Alone?

Allison Nazarian Life Lessons, Real Life

Last night, I met a friend for dinner. She told me she thought about cancelling beforehand because she’d been such a recluse lately, but decided not to because she thought I’d be upset if she did. (I would have understood.)

Recluse.

Alone.

Solitary.

We talked about our tendencies to be more alone than not. We work alone. We enjoy our own company. We don’t live alone — we both have teenaged-kids, but aside from driving and paying, they tend to do their own things.

Some people enjoy the solitude and the peace and comfort that being alone brings. I know for me, my home is not just the place where my office is or the place I sleep. It is my retreat. My happy place and my comfort zone.

Some people are comfortable being alone. They crave it, in fact. Others are terrified. The surround themselves with people, load up on activities, jam-pack every minute with plans. Sometimes that works. Usually, it puts enough of a buffer between themselves and lonely to do the trick. For them, home may represent boredom and loneliness. Being alone may be scary, the unwanted flip side of solitude.

The truth is we are all alone. Married or not. Recluses or not. Scared of being alone or not. There is but one person you are guaranteed to be with for every moment of the duration of your life. Just one. And loving that person no matter what, seeking out the company of that person — that is where amazing things can happen. These amazing things can happen whether you are all alone or you are in the middle of tons of people.

Somewhere there is a balance. I tend to go to much to the alone extreme, because I can live with that extreme better than I can live with the other. Night after night of people and plans would be a nightmare for me. But I also cannot live without people — no one of us can.

That said, I am incredibly grateful I can pick up the phone and have a number of wonderful friends who would meet me at Starbucks or PF Changs (good gluten-free menu) with a moment’s notice. And they know I would do the very same for them. I shudder to think what my life would be like without other people. If I didn’t have that support system to feed my own inner extrovert, tiny as she may be, I might drastically tip the scales in favor of recluse, which is not what I am aiming for.

It’s a fine line.

Where do YOU fall on the “Alone Spectrum?”

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