I feel like I wrote this post to defend my behavior. Sometimes I can be a little aloof and standoffish; not because I’m mean but because I’m really incredibly shy and introverted. I understand the importance of being in community, but this year’s fourth most popular post was a defense of being alone.
In his classic book Life Together, Dietrich Bonhoeffer highlights the importance of community. God created us to live our lives together. We need others to help us weather the storms of life. We need others to magnify the joys of life. The need for community is engrained in our DNA and we absolutely need other people in our lives.
Sometimes, though, I prefer to be alone.
I love hanging out with friends. I love seeing our high school students. I miss my nieces and nephew when I don’t see them. I believe Bonhoeffer and see the tremendous value in doing life together.
Sometimes, though, I see an even greater value in being alone. I’m not the only one.
God created all of us: some extroverted and some introverted. Even as a pastor I’m incredibly introverted. I’m completely comfortable preaching in church but incredibly uncomfortable when people come up to talk to me after the sermon. I get so uncomfortable you’d think I was being asked to reveal my deepest and darkest sins.
Us introverts need some time alone, to just sit by ourselves and not be forced to interact with other human beings. I feel like I’ve been doing nothing but interacting with other human beings since before Christmas. I’ve had parties, family vacations, nights with friends and even a memorial service. At this point I’m about ready to find and burn every copy of Life Together if I don’t get some time to myself.
Here some nerdy options for a little alone time.
- Skyrim: No multiplayer. No online component. Just you and some dragon slaying.
- Working out: How many nerds out there made resolutions to get healthier? Me too! Working out is a perfect opportunity to get some alone time.
- Read a Book: Reading is an inherently solo endeavor, unless you’re reading to your kids or reading over the shoulder of someone in a waiting room. Why don’t you read The Hobbit and marvel at how they stretched six chapters into three hours? Read A Storm of Swords and try to figure where the new season of A Game of Thrones will insert gratuitous violence and nudity.
- Fan Fiction: Read or write some fan fiction. The world is dying to know about the continuing adventures of Xander and Cordelia that have been running through your head.
- Phone Gaming: It’s sad how much our phones have hurt the premise of Life Together. Instead of living together we stare at our phones and ignore those around us. While phone gaming has its downside, it’s also a great way to get some alone time.
- iPad+Netflix+Headphones: I was going to put watching TV on this list but in my home that is a communal experience. If I want to watch something totally by myself, I have to fire up Netflix on my iPad and plug in the headphones. With that set up, even if Alycia was next to me on the couch, I could snag some alone time.
We need people in our lives. For some of us, though, we really do need some life without people. It’s not a bad thing to be alone as long as we don’t feel alone.
What other nerdy options are there for some alone time?