It’s time to be alone

As another week full of classes, interning and daily errands wraps up, I finally reach the one thing that keeps me going strong: Friday.

Friday is a golden opportunity to recharge my internal batteries and clear my mind. The one day where I have the right to be selfish. It’s a day for no commitments and sweet, solid serenity. Suddenly, the moment I jump into my sweats and set the oven temperature for my pizza, my phone vibrates. My friends have sent me an underwhelming social call to arms to storm the bars of España.

Now don’t get me wrong, I appreciate every friend that sends me an invite to hang out, but at this time of the week I haven’t got a single speck of energy left to walk through the front door.

My mind starts weighing out the pros and cons of options A and B. I scroll through my list of excuses to use in order to avoid going, although the fear of missing out comes to mind and I’m caught tussling with the devil’s advocate. I decide to play it safe and drag myself to my couch, sink inside the cushions with a hot slice of DiGiorno’s Hawaiian in hand.

As I finally sit down, I can’t help but feel a bit guilty for not going. Why?

It’s a classic game of “should I stay or should I go.” For many of us, college is a time of growth while learning to become independent. Learning to be OK with being alone is what gives us that ability to take critical thinking to the next level and without it, we succumb to intellectual stagnation. We need to be capable of being OK by ourselves.

Many seem to haplessly forget that we live in a world where we are constantly encouraged to engage and socialize. Whether it be Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, when you click the “like” button, you are saying, “Hey, I see this and I’m with ya on that.” Being socially engaged has become an interminable chore.

The obsession has gotten to the point to where if you have Snapchat, you can post a photo or video on your story and see who’s seen it. There’s no “like” button, no “emotional response” button, but only an “eye” icon that reveals who’s seen it.

Now consider the amount of people who compulsively refresh their stories waiting to see who’s looked at theirs. Psychologically, it’s quite disturbing. Are we really progressing as individuals with this? The endless search for company has only damaged our ability to self-reflect.

Of course I wouldn’t recommend you spend the rest of your life locked up inside your room and throw your electronics out the window, yet over time this kind of “connection” hinders your ability to, well, be someone.

Your opinion of yourself blurs in with others’ opinions of you. You slowly lose your sense of motivation and days get duller and duller. It’s necessary and healthy to have time for self-reflection in order to be someone and live your life. Fearing alone time is affected by these views and can lead to even more serious emotional problems such as depression and anxiety.

The decision I would normally make is to go out with friends and suffer the consequences later, but that day I dared myself to do the opposite.

To be honest, it changed me. Now, I will try to save at least an hour a day to myself doing whatever activity that involves me, myself and I. As our world becomes even more socially integrated, my personal intermission will continue, and I think it’s time for all of us to do the same.