The Need to be Alone

Everyone needs time to be alone. I saw this young man sitting behind his apartment in Tokyo, relaxing in the alley not thinking anyone would see him.  It was evening and the darkness you see was enveloping the city. When we need to be by ourselves with our thoughts, or just need to get away from our world and the people in it, alone is a nice escape. For this teen it meant sitting in the dark alley with his thoughts and his phone. Who knows what he is doing, but whatever it was, it was important enough to him to find a quiet place to do it, which meant the dark alley. 

In a city of over 36 million people (47 million if you count all the prefectures), Tokyo is the most densely populated city in the world, so the need to be alone must be a great one. The challenge is how to find a place to be quiet with our own thoughts? Most people here live with someone else, or multiple some one elses. Multi generational households is the norm. Space is at a premium, and if you do have the luxury of loving alone it is probably a very small space. So sitting in a dark alley to be around no one does not seem so sinister when you put it into persepctive. 

Most of us spend most of our time around other people. We live, work, play, shop, recreate, worship  and relax around other people. Sometimes you just need to be alone with yourself. No people, no tasks, no one to serve, help, control or interact with, you simply need to be alone. You need time to think or rest, or time to gather your wits. You might want silence to ease the hustle and bustle of everyday life. You need time to process what you are learning or experiencing, or you need quiet to let all that is in your brain settle. Being able to be quiet may mean getting up early, staying up late, leaving your own space to find a different space. It may mean leaving those you love behind or leaving them alone. Whatever it means in your world, being alone is a must. 

Sometimes we avoid being alone because it is easier. If we take the time to process and think about our world, we may not like what we see. So we fill our hours, spaces, and thoughts with people and things to avoid facing the realities of our lives. If we stop the madness that is our busy world, then we need to deal with the business of the world we have created…which may be a tough pill to swallow. However big the pill is, you need to swallow it. No one can do it for you, only you can live your life. So live it by facing the joys and sorrows, challenges and adventures you have chosen.  Maybe today the best way to do that is to find a nice quiet place to be alone. If you have a space where you can be alone, give thanks. If you need one, you might consider a dark alley. No matter the place, your world is worth the time and energy it takes to be alone. When we are comfortable being alone we can then be a better version of ourselves. 

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