I recently read the book Party of One: The Loner’s Manifesto, by Anneli Rufus, and I must say, it struck a chord with me. I am a loner, and not only am I okay with it, I prefer it this way.
Cell phones are a marvelous thing, and I am so grateful to have one with me when I travel, or pick someone up at the airport, or drive home alone at night. But don’t call me, please, unless you have something to say. And even then, say it, then let me go. I won’t be offended. Really.
Ancillary to my love of my aloneness is my love of silence. I don’t need a radio or other device playing when I am home alone, or when I am in the car. I enjoy music, especially this time of the year, but often I find myself in need of quiet to calm my mind after a busy day at work.
Ms. Rufus makes the case that being a loner is not the equivalent of being weird, or a freak, as is so commonly believed. Nor is it abnormal. Numerous artists and great thinkers have been loners: Emily Dickinson, Descartes, Greta Garbo, J.D. Salinger, Einstein, Michelangelo, Isaac Newton……
Yet much of our society insists upon telling us to get out more, socialize more, make friends, get a hobby.
I have hobbies, lots of them. I read, I play on the computer, I do scrapbooking and crafts. I cook. I write. And I never ever feel the need to have someone join me in those activities. I am comfortable with this. I do not need to join clubs or do volunteer work or have a busy career to feel fulfilled. I enjoy my own company.
Going home at the end of the day is my greatest joy, and when a co-worker asks what I have planned for a weekend, I gleefully say, “nothing”.
If you think about it, this is an ideal way to live. I have friends, both real and virtual. I love my family. I enjoy being with all of them, but when I am alone, I am happy, too.
So please don’t feel sorry for me. Don’t feel you need to invite me to dinner if my husband is out of town. I’m good.