Thursday, June 23, 2011

how to be alone (& embrace it)

how to be alone

Yesterday, I posted about a new series, On the Road, that my fiance will be writing for this blog. You can read that post here, but the jist is that he's the Stage Manager for a band, and he is gone - far away from home - for half the year, every year.  It's an interesting, exciting way to live.  It can also be very lonely.

alone not lonely
I've always considered myself to be a very independent person.  But I'm also a free spirit with a bad case of wanderlust, and as much as I appreciate the occasional time to myself, it goes against my nature to be alone for long periods of time.  Right now, I don't have a choice.  Between Robbie's crazy schedule, my work load, working from a home studio, and a sick doggy who can't be left by himself for more than an hour or so, I've found myself spending a lot of time - well - alone.  And as a relatively social person who likes to travel and explore and be around people (especially Robbie, who is my very best friend), sometimes spending so much time by myself makes me sad.

alone with nature

My friends often send their condolences (and/or pity) when Robbie leaves for long runs.  I posted something on my Facebook page yesterday along the lines of "Robbie just left for a month and I sure am feeling sorry for myself right now."  My friend Liz, who also spends long periods of time alone when her partner is away, saw my status update.  But instead of telling me that she felt sorry for me too, she sent me an incredibly beautiful video about embracing this alone-ness, and empowering yourself through it.  The video, made by two exceptionally talented women (filmmaker Andrea Dorfman and poet/singer/songwriter Tanya Davis), made me cry a little - because the concept is so simple, but so easily forgotten.

As artists and people who work in creative fields, many of us find ourselves alone with our work.  And watching this video reminded me that sometimes, that can be quite inspiring.  There isn't much I can do to fight all of this alone time I'm facing lately, regardless of my yearning for the days when being more of a wanderer and social butterfly was an option.  So I decided that I might as well embrace it, and use it as inspiration for my work. 

Audrey Hepburn quote

I think we can all find the positive in embracing our solitude. It's not necessarily an easy process, but I think that maybe being alone can become a sort of fuel for exploring our creativity without excessive stimuli.  I'll let you know how it goes. :)

I hope this truly lovely video, and the pretty "alone" themed images here, bring you some inspiration as well - whether you find yourself alone often or just from time to time.

Image sources top: 1, 2, 3, 4.


  1. HAHA! I must have been reading your blog while you were reading mine...I just saw your comment come through.

    I feel for you. I am not good at being alone too much either. After having Miller it is worse...when there aren't any child noises in the house I get mopey.

    I hope you are able to find things to keep you busy and ways to embrace the alone time!!

  2. i hate when my husband even leaves for a few days for a work trip. i'm such a baby. i'd be so sad and bitter if he left for a month. for me, it's all about finding something to do and keep my mind busy so i don't feel like a lonley loser lol

  3. That's exactly how I feel about my life is right now. Thank you for this, it's nice to know other are feeling the same way. (even though it sucks!) :)

  4. lovely lovely photos! being alone can be hard, but sometimes it is fabulous :)


  5. Great post! I too like my solitude, but in smaller doses. I have been living alone for about 5 years now and I can be alone without being lonely. I enjoy my own company, doing things the way I want to do them - when I have to.

  6. That video is stunning!! I have a hard time being alone. My boyfriend leaves sometimes for work but only for a few days - but it's still sooo hard. I start to feel overwhelmed with stuff to do, then so lonely at night!! I admire you for being able to do it and run your businesses and the blog and be so positive!!


  7. I loved that video. Thanks so much for posting. Also, love that Audrey quote and photograph. Thanks for this lovely post!

  8. I've always embraced solitude, and I've known for years that I get my best ideas when I'm alone and letting my mind wander. But I'm a huge cry baby if I'm away from my husband for more than a day. The only time I ever feel lonely is when he travels for work. I get all whiny and cranky until he comes back. (And now I'm wondering where this weird Bella/Edward co-dependency came from.)

  9. I haven't watched the video yet but I saved it so I will later on. But my bf and I have opposite schedules pretty much. Usually I see him in the morning before I go to work (he's still sleeping) and at night when he gets home from work--which is usually right before I go to bed. He always works weekends and sometimes we'll have one day off together but we are usually too tired to do much. I feel for you, I'm thankful that I at least get to see him everyday even if we don't spend much time together.

    Thank you for this post :)

  10. I love this post and I wish I would have watched that video about 4 years ago when I was living alone, away from my bf. I used to hate being alone and the first few months were rough, but I actually learned to like it and I think it actually made me appreciate and like myself more. I don't have as much alone time as I used to, but I savor every moment I get. :)

    and I think starting a gratitude journal is a great idea... now sounds like the perfect time and it just might help :)

  11. Thank you all so much for the comments! It's nice to read about other people's experiences with excesses of alone time. :) It's a huuuuge challenge, but life is what we make of it and all of that, right?

    I appreciate your thoughts so much.


  12. I love being alone! It's definitely important to re-charge. But I can imagine it's difficult when your loved one is away and you have long periods of alone time.I'm sure it makes your reunions even that much sweeter. =)


  13. what a wonderful post! i too spend a lot of time alone while my husband works long hours. everyone always says oh, working from home must be amazing... you get to make your own hours, etc. etc... but the truth is it can be very isolating sometimes. thanks for the reminder that alone time doesn't have to mean lonely time :)


  14. Love those pictures! Audrey is my favorite :)


  15. Im sorry that you have to be alone like that every year! Growing up, my dad was in the marine corp so my mom was left alone a lot. I like the idea of just finding ways to embrace being alone.

    <3Chelsea Elizabeth

  16. What a lovely post! I've always liked both - time with people, and time alone, but last year my husband had to go away for work for 3 weeks, and I was so lonely - even for such a short time! I think there are different kinds of alone. I like being alone - in spells, so long as I know at the end of the day my soul mate will be there!
    Sorry that doesn't really help you! I guess you cope with what you get used to!
    Hope you find a way to embrace your aloneness - just like the video suggests!

    I found you through a Friday blog hop. I’m following you now and hope you’ll stop by my blog sometime too! Have a lovely week.
    Jill @ Creating my way to Success

  17. Being a single Mom, I use to hate being alone. Taking care of a child by yourself while seeing all your married friends with their husbands to help can be depressing. But now, I've come to relish it (especially during nap time)

  18. I remember when I saw this video, it is so sweet. I love my time alone. Sometimes to the extent of preferring it to being with friends..

  19. i love to be alone. i don't know if this came from being raised as an only child (until i was 16 when my brother was born), but i guess i got used to it.

  20. I am someone who finds it really difficult to be by myself too, thanks so much for sharing!

  21. Thanks for posting about it, it was really up-lifting and the video was encouraging. Alone time can also mean inspiration time and self-growth.

  22. I absolutely love this! I have seen that video before and am always mesmerized by it. I love being online daily, but life-long it's kind of frustrating at times. Being single can be depressing it you let it. I love how much the video reminds us that in either small ways or big, it's okay to be alone and okay to be yourself and it's okay to just be.

  23. beautiful & precise moment when the photograph

  24. I love that video! I am kinda like miss Hepburn, I NEED to be alone to refuel. But I think missing the one you love makes the alone time much sadder.


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