My Space, My Time

While for some people, alone time equates to loneliness, for others it is a moment of glorious solitude.
While for some people, alone time equates to unwanted loneliness, for others it is a moment of glorious solitude.
For too many, stepping away from it all does not necessarily mean disconnecting from the world at large.
For too many, stepping away from it all does not necessarily mean disconnecting from the world at large.
In our busy lives, where physical disconnection is not always possible, it is still possible to disappear into a world of thoughts.
In our busy lives, where physical disconnection is not always possible, it is still possible to disappear into a world of thoughts.
While cities are full of all sorts of external stimuli, they are also places with abundant empty streets.
While cities are full of all sorts of external stimuli, they are also places with abundant empty streets.
While not always the case, body language may have something to do with how approachable we all are at one point or another.
While not always the case, body language may have something to do with how approachable we all are at one point or another.

As I walk around all sorts of cities during my endless photo walkabouts, I can’t help but notice the sheer number of people I see alone. No, I’m not referring to the millions who go about their days moving from point A to point B as they go about their normal workdays, but rather I’m referring to those who are “really” alone, as if “I’m here all by myself” type of alone. So, unable to stop my mind from wondering what may be going through these solo souls’ minds during their personal walkabouts, I have begun to dwell on all sort of things relating to loneliness, companionship, and solitude. No, I’m not loosing my mind or plan to give up photography for psychiatry, but rather that when I’m alone out there (camera in hand), I always wonder whether my fellow lone riders are enjoying the “life less interrupted” as much as I am.

Our language has wisely sensed the two sides of being alone. It has created the word loneliness to express the pain of being alone. And it has created the word solitude to express the glory of being alone.” … Paul Tillich

From the little I can gather, it seems that people need as much time alone as they need the company of others. Call it a recharge, a moment to gather our thoughts, or whatever. And even when the line between loneliness and solitude is a blury one at best, somehow we all kind of know when we have crossed it. Ideally, that transition from one side of that undefined line to the other is a voluntary, and timely, one. That seems to be the implication of Tillich’s quote above. Choice, then, appears to be at the core of human ability to temporarily disengage, to fly alone, and to find meaning in the things around us. It is in that seemingly empty, yet rich space where we can get back to the basics of our humanity. And what emerges from that brief moment of solitude is a better person, a more fulfilled person, who’s time alone will make the company of others that much more enjoyable.