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Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Learn to be Alone

When I was a kid, I was often unwell (my father called me "puny"). My older brothers were active, robust even, and loved to play ball, climb trees, and wrassle.

I, as my uncle repeatedly said, always had my nose in a book.

To this day, I prefer to be alone.

Oh, I'm garrulous alright. Can't stop talking when I'm with others.

And as a teacher, I find myself in front of groups of 35 or so on a regular basis.

But when I get home, and close that door… peace.

Sure, I'm tied to this here electronic box much of the time. But I just came back from 10 days travel--alone. Yeah, I stayed with friends a few nights, and chatted with strangers here and there (mostly in bad Chinese, so the conversations were short).

But in many of those conversations, I had to explain that yes, I was traveling alone, and uhuh, I was happily married, but my wife had to work, so…

The gregarious Chinese found this inconceivable.

I loved it.

All my life, I've been my own best company. I think, read, write, watch, or just do nothing. Alone.

It's part of the secret of my happiness.

I know people who can't take five minutes of their own company. They're out in clubs or with a gaggle of friends at all times, maybe afraid to hear themselves think.

If you’re like them, learn to be alone. Cultivate yourself. Take a trip, or at least a walk, and talk to yourself. Or just listen.

You'll be happier.

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