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We are social. Social more than ever before. Not a moment passes without being connected to others. Thanks to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and what not, it is really hard for someone to be isolated from everyone else. Don’t get me wrong, I love using these sites and use them to keep in touch with friends, family and other people.
Sometimes I feel something went wrong because of these connections. We fail to spend time with someone that really matters, ourselves. Rewind around 15 years. I was a school kid. I loved hanging out with my friends in school and absolutely loved my school. Once back home, life just slowed down. Those were the days without internet and computer at home. I was not very fond of TV so I ended up spending time reading and gazing at the stars.
Astronomy was my favourite subject and I was absolutely fascinated learning about space and stuff. Because I loved the secrets of deep space, I used to spend hours looking up at the sky and connecting stars into constellations. Unlike now, there were more stars in the sky because we were away from city and it was less polluted those days. I loved that solitude! It was the time for myself and my thoughts. My imaginations were like a YouTube video, playing a movie in my mind about travelling through the stars and touching down my spaceship on the moon.
I realise now, that my mind was very much more creative during those moments of solitude. Nothing to distract your mind, no mobile phones, no internet and no mails and notifications. Life was less connected but was more original. You met your friends in person and not on facetime. Hangout meant being available to chill out in in real and not some app made by a giant company. Things were way less complicated.
Anyway, coming back to solitude. I loved that time during evenings when I just wandered gazing into the sky, building my own stories and journeys. I wasn’t a loner kid. As much as I was social, being to myself mattered to me as well. Does that make me not ‘social’?
‘Social’ is subjective
The definition of being social isn’t the same for everyone. Some people like to go to a pub and hang out with friends and meet strangers. Yet others prefer being social with their own family and close group of friends. For yet another group, being social might be catching up with an online community who has a common interest with them.
Being social does not always mean going out and meeting people. Some of us are comfortable being social only to those very close to us. Anything beyond that might not be comfortable. That is not a sign of being a sociopath or anything. It is just natural.
As much as I think being with people and meeting people in life is important, it comes down to your comfort level as to what being social means to you.
A break is good
Taking a break is good. Trust me, few weeks back when I was at home after I met with an accident, I really enjoyed my time sitting at home, not having to worry about many things. You are constantly doing something, thinking about work, travelling from office to home etc. You do not get time to just sit down and rewind what really happened in the day. By the time you are back home after work, you are so tired that you do not feel like doing anything at all.
Admit it or not, sometimes you crave for sometime to just get disconnected and relax for a moment. For that one moment to just be relieved of all responsibilities and feel free. Well, you should do it once in a while. Take a break and go do your stuff.
Plan a day off and just stay off the hook. World is not going to stop if you decide to take a day off. Fight the urge to get back into the world just for a day. No social media and no office mails. Gift yourself that day where you are just being with your thoughts. You’ll be surprised to see how many thoughts cross your mind and how deep your thoughts go.
When I got a chance, I just shut myself in my room listening to music and curled upon my bed. Just me and my thoughts and it was amazing. I am not saying completely cut off your life from everyone else’s. Just for a little while. That’s it.
Serve yourself too
Day in and day out, you are serving others. Starting from your family, you support them. Pay your bills and earn enough so that your family’s necessities can be taken care. You reach office and your boss has thousand things for you . Along with this, there are hundred other people who need favours from you. You end up serving all.
You have your partner or best friend towards whom you have your commitment. You have to ensure you give them time and attention. Then you need time to tend to your baby or your pet. They are your responsibility too. But in between all this, you tend to forget someone else who is your biggest responsibility - yourself.
Staying still helps
Sometimes, instead of doing many things at once, it is better to settle down, sit and relax. You have been working really hard throughout the week, now its time to slow down and give yourself a break. Some of us have trouble being still, doing nothing. We have this constant urge to do something, to mails and social media, to keep working. Staying still can be difficult at times.
Being still is something that we so often neglect. It is as important as anything else in life as it makes you more aware of who you are and what is it that you need from life. It also helps you slow down a little bit and be grateful for what you have.
Creativity happens when you are not in a state of chaos. If you are looking to be creative in any of your pursuits, there is one thing that will help you - solitude. Only when you are alone do you reach out to your deepest thoughts and inner passion.
I have been writing regularly on this blog since past couple of months. I was able to do this by putting myself into the solitude of early mornings. I start writing around 5:30 a.m in the morning so that I have very minimal distractions and creativity just flows seamlessly.
Why time for myself?
Being in solitude has helped me in many ways. I have been able to maximise my time and ability to think back about my life and goals. You end up being in a never ending routine of life if you do not sit back for once and evaluate life. Making time for myself has transformed my commitments and creative output.
Gives me time to think: Being in solitude, gives me time to think. Think about life, work and my creative pursuits. I get to know myself and also make me more aware of my shortcomings.
Makes me creative: I am at my best creative self when I am alone taking time for myself. I made it a habit to wake up early and start writing and working on side project because I find that I am able to do my best work and be focused during my time being isolated from the rest of the world.
Helps me evaluate myself: Being with myself helps me evaluate my work and see where I am going. Being able to unwind and look at the path that I am on, helps me adjust and correct and set course for success. This helps me find my peace and also my self-evaluation is independent of anyone else’s opinion.
Makes me grateful: Being in solitude helps me appreciate everything in life, even the smallest of things. Things tend to get lost in this chaos of your life where everything is so dynamic that you do not get time or space to appreciate what you have in life.
Finding time for yourself isn’t easy in our well connected and fast paced life. But there are few ways where you can find or rather make time for yourself.
Cut down time wastage: In a day, you end up wasting so much of time that can be spend either being productive or finding your space to be with yourself. Some of us end up commuting for hours to office. You can probably shift somewhere close to your workplace and cut down on the wastage.
Get ‘em on board: It is absolutely important to make sure that your family and/or partner is on board with you taking time off for yourself. Being isolated might make them worry about you if you have not set the expectation with them.
Be less connected: For once, shut off your connections. Close down all apps that keep you connected and switch of the internet. Isolate yourself from every distraction and keep away from connections.
Say ‘NO’: Learn to say no. You cannot do everything. So you have to be very selective in what you take up to in life. Make a conscious choice to say no to certain things so that you can have some time to spend for yourself.
Take a walk alone: Go for an evening or an early morning walk. It gives you time to think. Don’t connect your headphones or open some app. Just go out there and let the thoughts flow into your mind. Enjoy the nature and let it sink in.
Wake up early: This is something that I have been experimenting with. I was not an early riser in past few years but recently I started waking up at 5 a.m. Waking up just few hours early has made a considerable difference in my life and the way I get things done. If you are not an early bird, be night owl and find your time at night by staying up little later than usual.
Leave early from work: If possible, make it a habit to leave work on time. If the place you work focuses only on the outcome and not on how much time you spend in your workstation, take advantage of being able to come home early and set aside time for yourself. This also means leaving work in office and not getting back at it until you are in office the next day.
Try being disconnected every once in a while. You not being online or connected will not end the world. But you do deserve to give yourself some time be yourself. Life doesn’t start when you are back home from work, it is always your life.