I’ve seen a lot of people on social media freaking out about this whole ‘quarantine/social distancing’ thing. Quite frankly, I do not understand it. Maybe it’s because I’m an only child who grew up entertaining herself, maybe it’s because I’m secretly an 80 year old woman who believes that people should be neither seen nor heard. Either way, having to spend up to a month where I don’t directly interact with other humans is honestly one of my dreams.
It should be noted that I deal with a lot of profoundly dumb
people tourists on a regular basis, so I am honestly incredibly grateful for the solitude.
I guess a lot of people have problems being by themselves, which is something that fundamentally perplexes me. Being by yourself is fantastic! Don’t believe me? Well, here are some reasons why spending time alone during this time of encouraged social distancing is actually wonderful:
You Can Get to Know Yourself Better.
Perhaps that sentence has made you scoff. “Hippie nonsense,” you might say. To which I would respond, “shut the fuck up, no one asked for your opinion, random internet person, this is Erica’s time to talk!” In all honesty though, it seems to me that a lot of people feel uncomfortable being alone because they’re insecure. They derive their sense of self from the roles they play in other people’s lives. But you (well, most of you) have value other than that. Unless you’re Edmund Kemper, you probably have some good qualities. Maybe you’re witty, or patient, or have an encyclopedic knowledge of Fairly Oddparents trivia. Being by yourself gives you time to figure out what those qualities are, and it gives you an opportunity to cultivate them.
Conversely, it gives you time to reflect about things you’d like to change about yourself. One example of this might be why you’re so reluctant to be alone in the first place.
Time to Catch Up on Old Hobbies or Projects.
I’ve been (officially) socially distancing for two days, and already I’ve organized my apartment, put together a box of things for the thrift store, and defrosted my freezer. I’ve also been able to work on an embroidery project that I don’t normally get a chance to work on. This is not because I am some sort of type-A nutjob. I am actually a very low energy person who doesn’t drink caffeine and responds to stress by falling asleep (yes, like a fainting goat, you don’t need to remind me). How, then, did I accomplish these tasks, you might ask? Well, my meritorious little walruses, I did so because I had time.
All of the aforementioned projects take time, which is something that dwindles exponentially whenever you introduce another person into your living space. Other people take up time, with their physical and emotional needs. When you are by yourself, all you need to focus on is completing whatever task is most pressing. Like Henry Bemis, you will soon find that there is, “Time Enough at Last.” You don’t have to be productive all the time, but you should consider finding something fulfilling, other than watching Married to Bigfoot Hunters or Canada’s Worst Divorcees on Netflix.
No Gods, No Masters.
Assuming you are an adult living by yourself, you can and should absolutely use this opportunity to do whatever the hell you want in the comfort and privacy of your own home. You can eat ice cream for every meal! You can stay up until 2am watching cartoons! You can cover yourself with vaseline and make the world’s worst slip and slide in your upstairs hallway! No one will ever know. You get to do whatever the hell you want, as long as it’s not going out and exposing other people to a potentially lethal disease.
Coincidentally, this is also a great time to pick up a new hobby, especially if you’re the type of person who doesn’t like to be bad at things. While you are socially distancing, no one will be able to see how terribly your first cake or quilt turns out. You’ll be able to practice your new craft without fear of judgement. This is also great if you’re the type of person who has somehow (inexplicably) made it to adulthood without learning basic life skills. Every person, regardless of gender, should know how to sew on a button, do laundry for different types of clothing, cook 2-4 different meals consistently well, and perform basic household repairs/maintenance, like changing a toilet seat. Actually, learning a little bit about how to fix toilets is a good life skill for everyone to have. They’re surprisingly straightforward pieces of technology and having a broken toilet is the exact opposite of fun.
You Can Catch Up On Sleep!
Let’s be honest, most of us should be getting more sleep. A large percentage of us also want more sleep, even if we don’t ‘need’ it per say. Instead of going out to the clubs and discotheques (or wherever people congregate nowadays), you can stay at home. At 9pm, you can draw yourself a nice hot bath and continue reading an enjoyable book. Then, at 10pm, you can snuggle yourself into your bed, content that you did your part to keep other people healthy! There’s no more potent soporific than the sense of self-righteousness that comes with doing absolutely nothing.
Barbara Streisand might have famously stated that, “People who need people are the luckiest people in the world,” but I think she is full of bologna. Of course, it’s good to have a support system of those that you can rely on, but needing constant interaction to make your life fulfilling just seems profoundly sad to me.
If done properly, being alone should make you feel independent and empowered! The silence gives you time to listen to the sound of birds outside your window, and the calm can give you the mental clarity with which to plot the downfall of the patriarchy. What’s not to love about being alone?