I've always enjoyed being on my own and I don't understand people who don't. It's something I miss since I've moved in with Boyfriend Andy: because I leave the house in the morning before him and generally return to it after he is already home I don't have much time to myself. Even if I'm sitting on the couch, with BA in another room, I'm aware of him, wondering what he's doing, thinking about what we should do with the rest of our night.
Which may be why this excellent essay by William Dersiewicz, called The End of Solitude, interests me so much. Dersiewicz's essay is, more or less, an argument on the benefits of solitude. A much shorter, much more readable version of Walden maybe, but factoring in the influence of the internet and television age.
"If six hours of television a day creates the aptitude for boredom, the inability to sit still, a hundred text messages a day creates the aptitude for loneliness, the inability to be by yourself. Some degree of boredom and loneliness is to be expected, especially among young people, given the way our human environment has been attenuated. But technology amplifies those tendencies. You could call your schoolmates when I was a teenager, but you couldn't call them 100 times a day. You could get together with your friends when I was in college, but you couldn't always get together with them when you wanted to, for the simple reason that you couldn't always find them. If boredom is the great emotion of the TV generation, loneliness is the great emotion of the Web generation. We lost the ability to be still, our capacity for idleness. They have lost the ability to be alone, their capacity for solitude."
You can read the rest if you follow the link above. I should also mention that I stumbled onto the essay thanks to Sam De Brito's latest column for the Sydney Morning Herald, which you can find by clicking on the links on the right hand side of the page.