It's been a beautiful August, traveling up North meant getting away from the drip drip drippings of Atlanta, Georgia's humidity that tends to stick on you like an un-welcomed guest that's been dipped in molasses, rolled around in dirt, and then doesn't want to take their hands off you. Best of all, it's the remote solitude that I crave more often than people can imagine I would. Being an outgoing personality gets the reputation of needing to be around people all the time. The thing most people don't understand is that needing and wanting are two very different things. I rarely need to be around someone, I've made it a mission for most of my adult life choices to be based around what creates value and not acting out of desperation. Therefore, when I'm with a person or group it's not because I need something from them but rather because it creates value for us to be together.
The difficult thing about 21st century America is that no matter where you go, you're always "on" by phone, laptop, radio, tv, etc… You're "on!" That makes you easily accessible to all people in your world if they have a means of reaching you, which they most likely do. Whether it's your mother that fortifies that titanium umbilical cord every day like a modern Hephaestus, or it's your dear friend who is going through just as many if not crazier changes in life than you, if they want access to you they have it. It's really, really difficult to tell people what you want when it comes to wanting solitude or alone time.
The hardest thing is to get the "off the grid" time that you want without coming off as an uber douche.
This great feat is not easily pulled off. Most people have staked some claim of right to your time whether it is by birthright, workplace obligation, or a strongly established relationship of friend turning into family. Heck, there are even those people that don't fall into those categories but by sheer stretches of the imagination have convinced themselves that your presence in their life, due to some need they have to fulfill, is something they deserve to have. Think of that old friend or distant relative that calls you up, maybe often or rarely, to complain about their lives and isn't really giving back in the ways that they ask you to. It could even be someone you interact with frequently and have become this beacon of hope and sanity in their crazy spinning world, and they've done the same for you. Regardless of who it is, you and only you decide how to spend your time and whether you want to own your solitude or feel guilty for it.
Guilty about wanting solitude, why would you feel guilty?!
Most of us want to please the people in our lives, some of us are all out people pleasers, help desks, and then some of us are even more intense universal drop everything on my plate to help the complete stranger because I have no emotional boundaries level people pleasers. This leads us to feeling bad about craving and necessitating that recharge time for ourselves. No matter if you try and let people know that you're just getting your self together and not depressed, because outgoing people pleasers are the last people that others thing would want solitude, they won't believe you. They begin to take it personally. They pout, and linger, and still can't figure out what it is about them that is making you want to pull away almost to the point of making you forget that it's not about them and it's just about you wanting you time so much that you know need you time. Once the feeling of resentment for not getting your "you" time starts creeping in then you really have to pull back and say, "EFF IT, I'm just gonna keep doing me and when I'm done I'll be done and whoever is there after my self-imposed bliss of a solitary confinement is there and whoever is not is not."
The expression that keeps coming to mind repeatedly is "give people the gift they ask for."
What does that mean? Well, put simply it means that how a person is showing you they want to be treated is how you treat them. For all of you that want that person, or group of people, in your life to understand where you're coming from the steps are simple. WARNING: most people are going to have a hard time accepting your alone time whether it's a day, week, month, season, or whatever it is.
5 Steps to Know if Someone You Love Needs Alone Time
- See a person behaving a certain type of way; sad, standoffish, immersed, etc…
- Feel some type of way about them being in that position.
- Get your head out of ego mode & stop making it about you, put yourselves in their shoes.
Don't try to overcompensate for their lack of activity by being overactive and trying to get them "out of their shell" unless you think there's something GRAVELY wrong with them ( then you can ask and if the answer's no keep following the steps)
4. Let them know that you love and care for them when you communicate and let them make the efforts to reach out to you.
5. If you "need" some sort of explanation then ask for one kindly but don't force it, all things come with patience/time.
Feel free to send this article off to anyone that you think isn't getting it in your life and just "do you" in the meantime. There's a chance that they'll feel "offended" but in this PC culture of ours where ego-maniac personas run rampant you can't hold yourself accountable for what people perceive. Just come from a place of compassion and love, the same exact feelings you would want them to receive the message with, then let go of any expectation. Go off into your solitude and come back renewed.
You Live. You Learn.