I’ve been reading Cal Newport’s Digital Minimalism: On Living Better with Less Technology and there was one chapter that really hit home for me on solitude.
He used the term “solitude deprivation” which is a state in which you spend close to zero time alone with your own thoughts and free from input from other minds.
This is where we are heading as a society.
In this chapter, he claims we are losing this solitude as we are continually connected to our devices however, we aren’t “wired to be wired all the time.”
It made me think about my own times of solitude – real solitude – and I couldn’t think of any apart from the times I’m in my hammock, or staring out the window at home into the back yard. At times I do wish I had some cabin in the woods or up in the mountains but usually when I’m away, I’m still connected somehow – whether to my devices, or with people around me.
However, the one place that stands to mind that is close to home is when I’m driving my car.
My car seems to be the peace and quiet oasis – my own little bubble of calm – especially when I don’t have my phone with me because it’s sitting at home on the charger.
While I drive, I never use my phone.
I don’t use the phone for directions (as I don’t drive to new places often) and as I have an old car, I don’t have the modern conveniences with navigation or the ability to link my phone to my car radio. It’s a “dumb car”.
As I’m getting older, I’m now finding the radio also distracting on the road so more often than not, the radio is turned off preferring my own rambling thoughts and observing the road and drivers around me.
I’ve noticed how much I enjoy driving on my own and I realised it’s not the driving per se, (I can take it or leave it) but I love the time alone with my thoughts without anyone telling me what to do or how to do it.
Other times I am with my thoughts are when I’m walking in nature.
If I find myself in nature trails or beach coastal walks, having the ear buds in and listening to music or podcasts ends up being distracting for me. Once again, I find enough interest in my surroundings to have my thoughts wander off on their own.
The last place for my solitude happens to be my hammock. I bought a hammock during the lockdown and it was the best mental health investment I could have made. During the warm days over summer, I pulled it out of the garage and lay there for entire afternoons staring at the clouds moving in the sky.
It would be a sad day if everyone didn’t make time for some solitude in their life and truth be told, I do prefer to be chatting with people who value this in their life and make time for it. They’re more grounded individuals who look you in the eye and listen to what you’re saying and they make you feel important – unlike the ones who seem to be in a rush or looking at their phone all the time and you feel like you’re impeding on their busy life.
If we’re connected all the time to our devices, how much do we truly understand about ourselves or make time to learn about others?
Photo: Photo by Ksenia Kartasheva on Pexels.com