The Art of being Alone ~ Lost forever?
I Ieft my phone at home the other day when I had quite a bit of traveling time. Found myself in quite an interesting place? Found myself feeling quite uncomfortable with my own company!
This is a conversation I had with a good friend; about 50 years of age; mother of many; running a busy little company that keeps her on the run!
The Age last week ran an article last week (October 12) talking about just this fact. For our younger generation, the mere concept is a foregin one, and many will put a great deal of effort into avoiding the notion of being alone. Must have phone. iPad charged up. Computer in bag. Lives will go passed without me ‘knowing’ if they dont connect in to Facebook at least ONCE a day! Photos wont be seen if Instagram or snapchat isn’t at the fingertips. To lose internet, or venture where there is poor signal or, gasp, NO signal, is simply something one doesn’t choose to do! The Age even quotes a recent piece of research in America where college students would give themselves electric shocks rather than be left in an empty room alone!
On the other end of the scale, here in Australia, one in four households are single person dwellings. And yet we too are shown to be less comfortable with being alone than ever before.
‘The experts’ are suggesting that emerging studies are showing that we should be seeking out solitude rather than running from it. Reasons? TO improve our mood, our creativity, our memory and to lower stress and agitation! Sounds good to me!
However we now fight on a battle front for this sort of time. Computers, ipads, phones, and games are just the start of it! We are growing into a culture that tells young people that being single is NOT something to celebrate. One is ‘left on the shelf’ if one doesn’t have a partner. Children are being given iphones and ipads with a selection of games that are possibly NOT helping them find ways to connect with their own self, using their own creative thinking, or even connecting with and embracing solitude. Whilst little, our kids are forming the habits of a lifetime, and if this means that being alone means them and a piece of technology, they will find it hard to have experiences where one is truly alone. I even know of families where their kids are sent to sleep playing games or watching movies on their ipad.
We at family filter are keen to see all parents take internet protection seriously. And this too means setting in place time restrictions on their internet. This allows a natural boundary to be put in place, for the internet simply to switch off, so that technology use is limited. I love that SOME families have put the same internet hours / restrictions for themselves as well as their teenage children! What a great example. Their after 9pm hours are spent together, either watching a movie, sitting chatting around the dinner table, washing up after the meal, playing a game of some sort or even taking an evening walk – alone or together as a family!
The delight of enjoying your own company is that time spent by yourself is a time where there is no need toe be anyone other than yourself! One needs not fill any roles or obligations or do what others want you to do. Aks oneself some great questions: What are my fears, my goals, my shame, my purpose, my regrets, my doubts, my hopes, my joys! What great questions to have to ponder, and really nut out for oneself!
Internet protection has many purposes. Web content filtering is one purpose. Protecting our kids from the dangers of ‘over stimulation’ and an inability to be by oneself, and enjoy ones own company, is another great purpose of Internet protection! DO it ~ it works on so many fronts!