Alone Time In A Busy World
In today’s busy world filled with all sorts of flashy things, it’s quite easy to get distracted. You get up in the morning and an alarm clock greets you with a series of loud beeping sounds. You check your email and 42 spam emails pop up and ask you if you’d like some viagra. You microwave a sandwich and an annoying flashing clock reminds you that it’s time for work. You buy a sandwich and all sorts of signs and cardboard thingys hanging from the ceiling tell you that you probably want a drink with that. You go to sleep and the buzzing of your fridge reminds you that there’s stuff to be eaten in there.
It seems like everywhere you look, there’s something yelling “Do Me!!”, “Buy Me!!”, “Look At Me!!”, etc.
The Unanticipated Alone Time
Usually, this effect isn’t even noticed. We kind of tune out all this stuff and barely notice that it’s there. However, a recent even made me realize that they do have their effects.
The last two days, Pacific Gas & Electric had the good sense to remind me that I had forgotten to pay my electric bill - by turning my electricity off. It resulted in a day without electricity, but eventually a little adrian monk got my power turned back on. The surprising is that while my power was off, I felt completely unstressed and relaxed.
There’s no whirling of my computer fans when I’m sleeping. There’s no buzzing of my fridge. There’s no clocks to tell me that it’s time to do something. In fact, since it was night time, there wasn’t even any light to show me the stuff in my room. There’s just me.
Clarity In My Alone Time
In this peaceful state, I found it very easy to focus my thoughts on the things I wanted. I thought about doing a good job at work and making my boss proud. I thought about the large, happy family that I’m going to have some day. I thought about the billion dollars I’m going to make in the next 30 or 40 years. I thought about the great problems I’m going to solve with those resources and the example that I would set for future generations.
These are thoughts that would not have flowed so naturally if there had been all kinds of distractions around.
Why Have Alone Time?
This experience made me realize that it is extremely important to have alone time. With so many distractions around us all the time, it’s very important that we know what we want. Otherwise, we get into the habit of going where these distractions tell us to go, without thinking about it. They suck up your time from the things you want the most, without you even realizing it.
You can’t be thinking about helping your family when you’re deciding if you want large fries with your drink. You can’t be thinking of buying your wife a flower when you’re thinking about being late to work. You can’t be thinking about your purpose in life when you’re trying to figure out what someone else is saying.
Just try it once. Turn everything off. Sit around for a while. Are you a different person in the dark?
Being alone really allows you to find out who you are as a person. Who are you when there is nobody around? What do you want to do? There’s nobody to impress, no approval to gain, no work to be done, no schedules to be followed. At this moment, there is just you. What do you want?
Having alone time allows you to re-experience being this person. You can really think about whether the things you are doing during the day are truly the things you’d like to be doing. It allows you to focus on your needs and wants without the distracting input of other people and devices. You get to think about how you are becoming (or not becoming) the person you want to be and have time to make the necessary adjustments for the next day.
Scheduling Your Alone Time In
This is clearly a pretty important process. After all, how do you know you’re doing the things you’re doing because you want to and not because someone else wants you to? Don’t you deserve to do the things you want?
Make a resolution now to take some time out every once in a while and go somewhere without distractions to reflect. Think about what you want and make sure that you are doing them. After all, you only have one life to live!