as i grow older, i *think* i am a shy extrovert. i love having close friends, i love group gatherings, but i am highly energized by my alone time. i know massive amounts of time to themselves isn't for everyone, but i think it's really healthy to be a little selfish with your time, at least occasionally. hear me out.
we have 24/7 access to each other by text, phone call, facebook, instagram, snapchat, etc etc. a little time to take your guard down and not have to express yourself or entertain someone or even just form complete sentences is .....nice. our world is so overcome with MORE social interactions and MORE friends and i think it's nice to just turn it off occasionally. we use social interactions and our phones as a crutch, as filler. sometimes it's not necessary, it's extra, it's fluff.
i think it's good to like yourself enough to "hang out" with yourself. does that make sense? i had a roommate in college that was truly incapable of spending time alone - grocery shopping or studying or going to the gym or even preparing a meal always had to be done with someone else. i don't think it's entirely disconnected that she was always a reflection of the people around her and deep down, (IMHO) she was not rooted or inherently kind - she was just mirroring those around her. LOTS of alone time can get lonely, but it's so healthy to be enough for yourself.
i could write a frickin book on the importance of being independent - how it brings you inner happiness and helps you add to the lives of those around you instead of just taking taking taking. we always talk about being enough for our spouses or our friends, but are we enough for ourselves?
but i'll just say this: alone time helps me master my independence - by learning to be productive with alone time, taking on projects and solving problems without help, & by learning how to fill my time with things that make me happy. the payoff from gaining more independence is HUGE !!
i try to segment my alone time (of which i have plenty as i am a child-less investment banking widow) into three categories - 1. tasks i don't find enjoyable, (paying my bridge toll by phone, getting the oil in the car changed, grocery shopping) 2. tasks i do find enjoyable, (reading my scriptures, planning my schedule, tidying the house) and 3. luxury time. (reading, watching movies, painting, wandering neighborhoods and taking photos, pampering myself) if i have a long stretch of alone time (like a morning alone before an afternoon shift) i try to do something in all three categories - i end up feel accomplished but also refreshed. however, if i am feeling especially depleted and empty i try to focus my alone time on 2 and 3. self-care comes first.
quite often, my evenings are spent alone as jordan rarely returns home before i go to sleep. i would always prefer coming home to a husband or having a girls night to look forward to, but i sincerely enjoy my alone time! i really look forward to coming home, turning on a movie, putting a face mask on, water coloring, and then maybe adding a few items to our SF bucket list. it fills me up & that time has become precious to me.
it's not about being selfish or getting what you want (though, that is nice) but it's about realizing you have the power to make the most of your time yourself. that you have the power to bring joy into your life yourself.
at the core of it, alone time just helps you be more present & more aware - instead of constantly being swept up in constant conversation and buzzing with new information. (if i am making it sound like i am not social, i can assure you i LOVE being around other people! but all things in moderation.) being present with yourself will push you to be present around others, and i think you'll find yourself embracing yourself and your relationships with a better, fresher perspective.