Texas Liberal

All People Matter

How Does One Balance A Need To Be Alone With The Existence Of Others?

I’m someone who often needs time alone so I can think and so I can manage my personality. If I don’t get time alone I feel like I’m drowning intellectually and, also, I get grouchy.

I’m lucky I have a wife with an almost intuitive understanding of when I need to be alone. I’m lucky my marriage is strong enough that the wife doesn’t take it personally when I want to take a walk or a ride by myself.

Sometimes the desire to withdraw from the company of others is strong. I feel if I could just go a week without talking to anybody, I would then make deep and profound blog posts and make great progress on the book I’m working on. (Though with a week alone, I might just go an hour down the road to Galveston and watch the tides and the ships.)    

As my life is structured now, a week alone is not in the cards.     

It’s jarring to go from time alone back to being in contact with others. I feel that my thoughts will be lost. Though, fortunately, that’s not really the case. 

My greatest difficulty is in finding the balance between time alone and meaningful  interactions with others. How does one successfully possess both temperaments required to make the best of such disparate demands on the intellect and personality?

As far as I can tell, this attribute comes from the same source that good blog posts and progress on a book comes from—Strong mental discipline. It also come from, to a degree,the good luck to have discretionary time and to not have to spend all your effort in life just getting by economically.     

I think I have at least some of the discipline needed to communicate things of value. I will say though that it is a lifelong challenge to reach my personal goals in this regard and to use my time in the best ways possible.

It is specific to each individual as to the steps needed to express what is best about their intellect and personality. It is worth the hard work necessary to figure out what those needed steps are.      

November 5, 2007 - Posted by | Blogging, My Wife Is The Best Person Ever, Relationships, Uncategorized | , , , ,


  1. Becoming ‘you’ for other people is mentally taxing and occasionally you need time to relax, just like an actor on the stage.

    Comment by Scott | November 5, 2007

  2. I feel like i need to be alone as well at times.. not talking too much to anybody.. Silence can be a really great thing..just listening to the wind or the birds churp or the sounds of the ocean.. Too much loud talking is really not my thing..in fact it really bothers me at times..my boyfriend can be really loud..and i would tell him..can you please lower your voice..Sometimes..i think well i might not be able to marry him..if i’m around someone who cannot just be silent at times..i’m defintely the quieter of the two. when i’m by myself i feel i’m the true self..the self not everyone can see but that i know am.

    Comment by marie | June 16, 2008

  3. Marie—well, I hope it works out. It can be hard to balance two people’s lives in the best of circumstances.

    Comment by Neil Aquino | June 17, 2008

  4. Today is my last day of five days Annual Leave, and this morning, my husband has chosen to take a sickie. I found this site because I’ve been crying with disappointment,and guilt,and wanted to feel it was ok to react this way. I am never alone in my own house, and now a precious day has been stolen from me. I just can’t relax or think if anyone is somewhere near me!

    Comment by Jennifer | June 26, 2008

  5. My father has moved in with me recently and i feel like i am drowning. i LLLOOOOOOOOVVVEEE to be alone. And with my son gone for visitation with his dad, this is typically my alone time, which i desperately need. I can’t stand having someone here now. i am not able to regroup at all. the house is an absolute mess because i can’t stand cleaning and straightening with someone watching. i can’t think “neatly”. i think i am going to have a nervous breakdown!

    Comment by Eliza | September 1, 2008

  6. neil looks like you hit a nerve here. there are so many lonely people that are crying inside for someone to talk to and i understand every post here as far as having alone time. everyone here needs to learn from yourselves, set peramiters and dont be affraid to hurt anyones feelings, tell them you need time to yourself, tell them it has nothing to do with them whoever they are that you want this for yourself and send them off next weekend to a hotel or relatives or go check into a hotel yourself and sit and stare at the wall and know that your four walls are yours. dont be affraid.

    Comment by bill brady | September 2, 2008

  7. Oh marie dont marry the loud boyfriend you will be doomed to a loud house and resentful life if you do. neil and laura are lucky that they found and understand and respect each other that is for sure.

    Comment by bill brady | September 2, 2008

  8. One of the hardest things for me is to find a balance between being alone and being with others. I live in a very “social” community, where people often have parties. I don’t like the noise, the overeating and overdrinking, and the superficial conversations. I can’t concentrate on one conversation with so many others going on around me. I often need to be alone for a while after a party, to recharge my batteries. I find other people to be draining, but if I’m alone for too long, I start to feel lonely. It’s an ongoing struggle. I love to read, and sometimes it feels like I could be happy if I could just do that, and give up trying to be sociable.

    Comment by Katharine | October 27, 2008

  9. Katharine–Great comment. Not much I can add but to say I can see where you are coming from.

    Thanks for all these comments. I guess this is a dilemma that many have in life.

    Comment by Neil Aquino | October 28, 2008

  10. I missed this conversation the first time around, but it really resonates with me. Thanks!

    Comment by Jen Leist | September 9, 2009

  11. i have the same thing,people often misunderstand me even my folks plus the fact that we have this generation gap.i myself think that nobody will understand and be able to stand myself.i often wonder if it is just me.I feel suffocated that i need to release this stress.I would just go to the gym to sweat it out.People often find me very confusing and weired but i guess that is who i am.I greatly value my own privacy and my “own” time.i think i’m just not the social type.

    Comment by karen | February 17, 2010

  12. What a great place this is! Thanks Neil. I am just realzing how much I need my alone time. I read and watch films and contemplate a great deal. But I feel like some thing from outer space when I try to communicate the precious gift of contemplation to others. So finally giving-up trying to share what’ve I found, since so few want it. Most everyone I interact with are social extroverts, or “do’ers” who don’t understand why anyone would want to hole-up in a room and do nothing by themselves for hours (contemplating with books,or film, are really BIG nothings to most of these people…just momentary distractions to most of them). My wife is a shy, but maximum social extrovert. So we are often at odds. She wants to visit people, I want to watch “Days Of Heaven” with her in the dark. Off we go to the in-laws (to keep the peace). My only way is to literally STEAL time away. Like many here, I get up early or go to bed very late when I can, and any time she is willing to go somewhere without me, I stay. Don’t get me wrong, I will socialize, but immediately join up with those who are fellow contemplatives if possible (so few, so few). Anyway, I’m pouring my heart out and you all are going to drown, so I’ll pass it on. Thanks for the blog. It’s great!

    Comment by phillip | November 2, 2010

  13. Phillip—Thanks for this nice comment.

    Don’t give up in quest for time alone.

    Time alone is good for the soul and good for your sanity.

    Please visit the blog often and offer up more comments.

    Comment by Neil Aquino | November 4, 2010

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