Apparantly I'm one of a very small group of people that hold this belief. You wouldn't believe how much ridicule and criticism I get for wanting some time to myself every now and then. It seems that a lot of people just don't understand how I can be content alone, even for a minute. "How can you stand it?" they ask, "to just be by yourself and not have someone around? Aren't you scared? Aren't you lonely?"
The answer to both of these questions is no, I'm not. I think that fear and lonliness are issues that have deeper roots in personality and temperament, frankly, and I've never been prone to either. But I think there's something else to blame for this loss of appreciation for alone time. It's called reality TV.
Somewhere in the past decade, people have become fascinated with watching other peoples' lives. This has never been unusual with celebrities, but now we want to know every detail of everybodys' life from the biggest mega-superstar to the cleaning woman. People willing to sacrifice their own privacy for a shot at fame have erased the boundaries of individualism.
The fact that we live in a society obsessed with maximum use of space feeds this fire. How are people supposed to understand boundaries when they work in a cubical where they overhear personal conversations all day, go home to a neighborhood where houses are literally spitting distance apart, and log on the Internet to see what their "friends" are eating for supper and watching on TV? Between the media, technology, and life itself, society is trying to pound it in our heads that it's not appropriate to put up a wall every now and then and say "Stop! No admittance! I need a time out!"
And in the end, this is feeding insecurity. Because in reality, we all need time to ourselves. Time to think, to ponder what's important to us and to take care of ourselves. Time to be our authentic selves without having a spotlight or webcam on you. We don't have to tweet every thought that runs through our head. We don't have to post a status update every time we move. And despite what the world tells you, it's really not right or appropriate to do that anyway. It leads to a habit of dysfunction, because we can't move until we know what everybody else is doing. It turns real life into a game of chess. You can't move until the other person moves first - thereby sacrificing your right to be who you are.
The world has always pressured people to conform, and there will always be voices screaming at you to be what they want you to be. The problem is that they aren't interested in what you want. They're interested in you being what serves their interest the best. That's why it's so important to pull away from the voices every now and then to consider the direction of your own life, and to make sure the sails are set in the direction you want to go. When we let noise fill our lives, we may find our ship sailing to a shore we never meant to even visit - much less live at.
I say to heck with the world. My life isn't reality TV, an evening drama, or a movie. It's real and I will share what I please, when I please. I do enjoy social media and blogging and love that it connects me with people around the world, and that it opens up more things in terms of interest and entertainment than have ever been available before. Heck, E-publishing is making me a writer, and I think the Internet is giving people a great opportunity to share things of interest (like books, news, etc) that would otherwise be drowned out by mainstream media. But I also consider everything I blog, post, or Tweet very carefully before I hit the "submit" button because I know that everything in my life isn't interesting to all people or, in some cases, business that doesn't need to leave the confines of my personal life.
I'm a responsible adult and am under no obligation to anybody to ask permission or to advertise everything I do. And I won't. That being said, I'll end this entry and leave you to ponder what I will do with the rest of my evening. I know, but (*sigh*) I just don't feel like Tweeting that right now.