“I no longer think being in love is the polar opposite of being alone, however. I say that because I used to want to be in love again as I assumed this was the opposite of loneliness. I think being in love is an opposite of loneliness, but not the opposite. There are other things I now crave when I am lonely, like community, like friendship, like family. I think our society puts too much pressure on romantic love, and that is why so many romances fail. Romance can’t possibly carry all that we want it to … When you live on your own for a long time, however, your personality changes because you go so much into yourself you lose the ability to be social, to understand what is and isn’t normal behavior. There is an entire world inside yourself, and if you let yourself, you can get so deep inside it you will forget the way to the surface. Other people keep our souls alive, just like food and water does with our body.”

“Blue Like Jazz”
Donald Miller

I started reading this book a few weeks ago – it has an interesting tagline – “nonreligious thoughts on Christian spirituality.” I am mostly through it and have both liked it at times and subsequently, been annoyed by it at times. I made the error of reading reviews online before I bought it and definitely can say that I agree with the major criticism of the book. That being the author sometimes comes across as too pretentious (or for a more scholarly term, too cool for school). I find myself nodding in agreement with half of what he says, marking paragraphs and truly been given food for thought. Other pages, I really just get bothered by the author, who seems to think that his constant references to pipe smoking make him soooo awesome. After all, everyone knows that Christians don’t smoke pipes. Or ride motorcycles. /end sarcasm.I digress.

The excerpt above is from the most recent chapter I finished, which is entitled “Alone.” There was another paragraph before it that I did not quote – one in which he discussed being in that kind of all-encompassing love that everyone has experienced. The kind which is so wonderful because you realize that you forget your own problems and find someone else more important than you.

Therefore, in 1+1=2 mentality, not being in love should mean you are alone … which really is never the case. Being alone becomes a choice, when you choose to push people away. I thought it was interesting how he made the point that society overemphasizes romantic love – as the answer to, or cause of, everyone’s problems.

And that can’t be the case.

I am one of those people who is okay doing things by myself. I can see a movie alone, take a vacation alone or go to a concert by myself. It’s not to say that I wouldn’t prefer doing things with other people … BUT … I will never sacrifice wanting to do something simply because no one else is interested that day.

I have also lived alone for a number of years. I have defended it by saying that I love my own space (which is true) and that I can always find someone to spend time with when I don’t want to be alone. But it is just as easy, if not easier, to find yourself disappearing within and becoming a victim of your own thoughts and habits. The more you isolate yourself, you lose an appreciation for the company of others. I never thought this could be the case.

And I end this with one of my all-time favorite quotes:

“Jen lives alone. Give her a Wii and some cats and she’ll never leave her apartment … especially if there’s any kind of marathon on the ABC Family Channel.” – Kristen Pressler

(Maybe I should rethink the alone thing …)