Society often seems perplexed and flabbergasted by individuals who prefer their own company to that of others. They think, "How could they possibly enjoy themselves compared to the pleasure of our group, family or crowd?" But that kind of thinking comes from societal creatures who perceive conformity, political correctness and unity as more vital than difference, diversity and individuality. Less threatening and challenging to their comfort level! Unity has its lure, but so does separateness.
This group mindset divides people. Because people often conclude if you aren't with us, you must be lonely, confused or maybe against us. There is something wrong with you because you aren't part of our group. The We / You mentality becomes the Us vs Them mindset. You are either in with the crowd or out of it. One irony is that some people simply chose to exclude groups because of their exclusivity, amongst other reasons. For many who choose alone as a path choose not to exclude as much as to be true to their individual nature. Just because some prefer their self to others doesn't mean they are odd. It might just indicate they are the sain and more conscious ones.
Of course, this lack of awareness, understanding and acceptance only perpetuates and alienates those who don't march to the drumbeat of the crowd. Some of the loneliest and unhappiest people attach themselves to crowds. While security and comfort in numbers is often but there can also be a selfless, soulless blending in. The more one blends in, the more he or she is lost.
Do the social butterflies ever envy those that don't like to party? No, of course not, they don't see the shallow gadflies or the facade of artificiality. If they did, their whole worldview might crumple. The reality is that more unhappy people together doesn't translate to more fun or greater social pleasure. Greater consciousness and caring are what really connect people. I often wonder how long a party would last if only comfortable, secure and genuinely content humans gathered together. Misery does love company!
When people ask me why I blog, I tell them my writing is a form of sailing. It always feels liberating and adventurous. Sometimes when I write, I'm transformed into a day sailor navigating a sea of ideas and feelings. Maybe I even become part character / part storyteller... maybe a dash of Joshua Slocum's daring, a sprinkle of Walter Mitty's daydreaming, a splash of Odysseus' swashbuckling or maybe a Robinson Crusoe's resourcefulness. I write because I like to. Like the wind and waves, my thoughts and feelings move me; they are compelling and creative forces behind my efforts.
Even though I don't write my blog to garner responses, build up readership, sell a product or promote a cause, I do appreciate reader comments, feedback and sharing other perspectives. But I don't write my blog for anyone else's approval and certainly not to be part of a group or a community. If people enjoy it great, but I don't want them to follow or like me for any other reason that they do.
While I always attempt to convey my unique experiences and perspectives in a unique manner, my goal is always to please me. My intent isn't to entertain, educate and open minds, but if that happens great. My main motivation is not fame, fortune or future notoriety; its purely creative fun. Like sailing on the open seas!
Each time I write a blog article, I share. I share ideas, thoughts, events and a little bit of myself. And each time I attempt to express who I am in my writing, I want to tell my version in my voice as honestly and openly as possible.
As my tiller, my intent turns my rudder. It steers my course. As I steer towards the shores and harbors of humanity, I collect and display my words and images, like seashells, along the way. Whatever distant shore my message lands on, my only hope is it relevance while revealing a part of who I am. So I guess I could say I am sharing my view of the world and myself at the same time.
People frequently find themselves when they sail. They aren't necessarily lost as they raise or lower their sail. And most of them know where their body is located. They may be aware enough to know their head is sitting atop their shoulders. They may actually know where they are headed. I mean what state of mind they are in, not just their last dead reckoning. And they aren't lost even if they don't know where they are or where they are going.
Every phase of sailing helps them discover challenges a soul's being and becoming. Sailing gives and takes much more than showing up. It doesn't matter if the wind blows hard or soft, whether the waves run high or flat, whether the sails stay trimmed or luff, whether the course is oat responds it reveals your strengths and weaknesses. It always and all ways reveals character, personality, behaviour, health, ease ailing the sea stirs our sides. To the extent we find ourselves we lose ourselves on it.
We are all alone, but that does not mean we are disconnected or lonely. Actually, it may suggest we are more in touch with ourselves than those who are dependent on others.
I love my alone time, especially on an island, on a boat or at home. I enjoy the solitude and the tranquility of my surroundings, especially when I am present in nature...much more so than being inside some protective shelter. And while I love delving into my inner world of thoughts, I love to experience the outer natural world even more. While I never listen to music while hiking, kayaking or exploring outside, I listen and observe what I heard recently as vacation-vision. The
While I have often lived by myself, I have never been alone. While at times during my 65 years, I have lived with and without people around me. But when I have been by myself, I have never felt alone. In fact, I have rarely felt lonely.
I enjoy the company of some people, but I haven't needed people around me to feel good about myself. Yes, I have felt loneliness at times in my life, but I have been comfortable with being with or without people around me. I wasn't always that way as I was growing up. And I have discovered that some people who wanted me to be in their life wanted me to be someone other than who I am. Some wanted to change me without changing themselves. I have known some people who can't be by themselves; they need the context and the interaction of others. I have known some people who couldn't be with me because they were too needy. The few times I have actually felt loneliness was when I was in cities or in congested people-places.
It should be obvious, I was not alone when these photos were taken.
Originally posted 12th June 2015 by Henry Lane