I have stretches of time when I am unsociable.
Well, that’s not accurate. On those days, I don’t lie around watching TV, eating junk food, and ignoring the phone when it rings. Usually on my alone days I’m writing my latest novel or a blog post, developing queries for Gram & Me, working or playing on social media, updating my website. “Alone” isn’t synonymous with idle, and it’s not truly antisocial.
My husband and dog are there, needing at least a small ration of my time and attention.
It’s more like a stretch of time when I can produce without also having to get out of my head for long periods.
This past week we had three very full social days in a row. I enjoyed them immensely. But by day four I couldn’t wait to retreat into myself.
Does that make me antisocial?
Some of my former work colleagues used to think so. I would interact with people all day on a professional level, but when they wanted to socialize after work, I rarely joined in.
Liken me to a machine that needs to be plugged into a charger and go into sleep mode in order to be ready to function the next day.
I love the comfort and familiar surroundings of my own home. It’s not agoraphobia. I also enjoy being out, seeing new sights and being with friends and family—but in smaller doses.
Some people can’t stand to be alone. I thrive on it. It’s not narcissism or vanity. I’m not “me” focused when I’m home and alone or in the quiet presence of my spouse and dog. I’m just more comfortable.
I had a conversation with an old friend a while back, during which we assessed former high school acquaintances as to where they were “on the spectrum” back in the day when that wasn’t identified. It started me thinking. Maybe, had I been born thirty years later, I would have been assessed the same way. This preference for being alone, but willingness to participate socially on a limited basis, has always been with me.
One of my other high school friends declared me “stoic.” Apparently, I don’t emote spontaneously or frequently enough. It doesn’t mean I don’t feel—powerfully and deeply—but rather that feelings get stuck inside me and resist release. It’s another aspect of me that I’ve always known but never labeled and was not motivated to change even if that were possible.
Alone is lonely for some people. It’s an emptiness. A disconnection. Sad and painful.
But it’s an individual thing.
Alone also can be productive. It can be regenerating. It can be comfortable, relaxing, enjoyable, even invigorating.
That’s what alone is for me.