Befriend Solitude

by
Amir Bagheri

It’s 7 am. You’ve just got a good seven hours of sleep. You get up. Shower. You make breakfast. Eat it. It’s already 8 am. Time to get ready. You put on some clothes. You’re now seated in your car. Traffic is already ruining your day. You’re at work.

It’s 9 am. You log onto Facebook. Your friend from high school got married. Your other friend from campus is living the life you wanted to live, travelling with your first crush.

It’s already 11 am. Damn, you forgot to check your emails. Fifty-six emails to get through. You don’t even care about half of them. You respond to the important ones. Back on Facebook. The friend you were always slightly jealous of posted a picture of his lunch. You remember it’s lunchtime.

You walk to the closest McDonalds. As you dip your fries in the tomato sauce, you scroll down on your Instagram feed. Your cousin posted another picture of her boyfriend that you don’t like so much. You feel bloated. Time to walk back.

Back at work, and you don’t feel like working. Back on Facebook. You see that your girlfriend was tagged in a picture from the party she went to last night. Your calendar notifies you that you have a meeting with your manager.

It’s 3 pm. Your manager pisses all over your already bad mood, and now you are frustrated with life. You go on Twitter and rant about how you hate your manager. You spend the last two hours of work on YouTube watching Vine videos.

5 pm. You are going to the bar across the road with all your colleagues that you hate. First round on you, just to impress everyone. You have three more drinks. You are tipsy. Your girlfriend calls. You ignore it because you’re mad at her.

8 pm. You drive drunk. You’re home. You make a quick meal. You eat. You call your girlfriend. You end up fighting with her.

10 pm. You are watching some mindless television. You go on Tinder. Swipe left, and right. Time to go to bed.

Repeat.

 


In an era where we spend more than a quarter of our daily life behind a desk, and another quarter of it sleeping, making a decision as to how you spend the remaining hours of your day becomes a critical, and difficult task. It is only then, when you put things in perspective, that you realise how precious your time is, that you understand how every minute should matter.

Millennials are often accused of wasting their time on social media. There are times that I would plead guilty to such accusations.  In a world where consumption of information through social media has become a habit, it is difficult to switch everything off and just digest the realities of our lives, offline.

What is really upsetting about this new way of life is that many people often live their lives in a manner only to impress their friends and colleagues online. Taking selfies, checking-in at different locations, and posting pictures of their food. These things are hardly ever about you, but rather about showing those around you what a “great” life you are living. 

The definition of solitude has changed over the past few years due to the effects of social media in our lives. Solitude is no longer about spending time alone because as long as you are online, you are never really alone. In an interconnected world where you can be connected to almost everyone through your fingertips, solitude has become a difficult task. 

From my experience, solitude does not merely mean spending time on your own, but also how you spend your time with yourself. It goes without question that social media can be very helpful in many aspects of our lives, but we also can’t deny the negativity that we often find online. It can be toxic.

Solitude, in the sense of being away from people and disconnected from the online world, will allow you to measure how fulfilled you really are. Being able to read a new novel, listen to a new record with your eyes closed, or even create something with your hands can be a very rewarding experience that can only be achieved when you choose solitude over other things. If you feel lonely while you are alone, you may need to take a deeper look at your life and your relationship with yourself.  

Discovering yourself is important. Solitude can offer you continuous opportunities to reflect on your life, your values, and your wants and needs. It allows you to re-evaluate your priorities, and re-plan your life.

So close your laptop, switch off your phone, and go do something that you enjoy doing alone. Reread your favourite novel. Listen to that R&B record that you used to sing along to as a teenager. Plan a trip to a destination you always wanted to visit. Trust your instinct and just do it. And remember, you don’t need to post any of it on Facebook or Instagram.

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