This world is characterized by connectivity, by never being alone, always surrounded and observed. Additionally, our world is increasingly full of whiplash-inducing stimuli by the truckload. We all know that it’s important to take some time for yourself if you want to be happy, but I think that we sometimes forget that this means cutting off all communication. Just being physically alone isn’t enough; you have to be emotionally alone. The benefits of alone time are much more noticeable when you take its strictest definition.
Being alone now means something completely different than it did 50 years ago. As long as your cellphone is with you, your friends can be reached in seconds, and they can reach you whenever they want. Physically alone and emotionally alone are now two distinct things. I personally believe that this technology has many more benefits than detriments, but it’s unhealthy to stay on it 24/7. It wasn’t created for that.
If you find yourself feeling like you’ve been stretched too thin, like you’re exhausted from just talking to people, if your phone vibrates and your first thought is “ugh,” maybe you need to take a break. Just like your phone, you need to recharge your batteries. Don’t stress about being in contact with everyone all the time.
Everyone has their own ways of scoring some alone time. Some take long hikes, some go for morning jogs, some go on walks. As for me? I drive. Not for very long, unfortunately (gas costs money), but driving frees me from the distraction of my cellphone. Whatever someone has to say to me, they’re going to have to wait until I want to hear it. Even when I go on walks or hikes with friends, we turn off our phones and enjoy the silence.
While Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and many other things that the internet has brought us are very useful and can be extremely helpful in bringing us happiness, we can’t spend our lives defining ourselves through other people. We can’t forget that true happiness (and a great smile) comes from within.