Tuesday, October 20, 2015

A comment to a question I posted on the SparkPeople message board made me think. I was asking about how to eat healthy in a hotel. They responded with something along the lines of "You should never eat your meals alone."

Why are we so afraid to be alone? In this day and age solitude is so rare. Even during a solitary walk around the block, I pass by dozens of people. We fill up our lives with work and Facebook. When that isn't enough, we turn on the tv so the talking heads of strangers can keep us company. We do everything in our power to keep ourselves from being left alone with our own minds.

I have spent most of my life like this. Moving from distraction to distraction until I'm just too tired to keep my eyes open. Then waking up and doing it all over again the next day. I did that until I woke up one day and didn't recognize myself. You know that Talking Heads song? "This is not my beautiful house. This is not my beautiful wife. My God...what have I done?!" I had gotten so swept up in distraction, I had stopped being me. Somehow I had become an overweight waitress in an unhappy relationship, living in her boyfriend's house in the Midwest. Wait... I'm a city girl... I've dreamed of a warehouse loft since I was 6 ... I have a degree in environmental science... I love hiking... I'm a LESBIAN!!!

I had been on autopilot my whole life. I never took the time to stop and reflect about who I was and what I really wanted because I was afraid to be alone. I needed to fill every waking moment with noise. After taking some time to stop and think, I realized I was living someone else's life. I've made huge changes in my life in the past few years. I broke up with my ex, quit working in restaurants, found a job using my degree, and moved across the country to follow my dreams. I'm so much happier now than I was. I feel whole for the first time in my life. I don't think I could be in a place where I was ready to lose weight unless I had made those changes.

I have since learned to enjoy being alone. Not all the time, mind you. My life is busy and full of people. In addition to work, I have friends all over the world I keep in touch with. I genuinely enjoy meeting new people and absorbing new perspectives. However, I relish the little bit of solitude I do get. It gives me time to slow down develop MY perspective. When it's quiet, I can really listen to myself. I've vowed to never lose myself like that again.

Have you ever noticed that almost every "holy" person has spent time in solitude? Seriously, every religion I can think of has people who have gone off on their own and came back with some fundamental revelation. Jesus, Moses, Buddha, Muhammad, and that's just what I can name off the top of my head. I think they have the right idea. Solitary reflection is important. Silence and solitude opens you up to hear the secrets of the universe, whatever that may be to you.

I'm down with either option.

On another note. Yay for me! I completed my first 3 mile run yesterday. I went super slow (a little over a 16min/mile), but I'll worry about speed later. I'm still planning on doing the Turkey Trot this year, which means I now have a month to add another mile to my distance. I kind of want to work on speed as well so I don't completely embarrass myself at the race. I know I don't need to be the fastest but I would be more comfortable if I were faster. Even a 14 or 15 minute mile would be okay with me. I just want to finish in under an hour.
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  • FIREFLY4407
    Great work getting off of autopilot and learning how to be true to yourself. Personally I absolutely need quite / alone time to reflect and recharge, but I've also learned that many people don't and society in generally moves further and further away from this. I've tried to be more aware of getting sucked into distractions, especially digital ones. I have a "mindful" app that sends random alerts during the day to just pause.

    At work recently we did an Enneagram personality profile and workshop. I've done a number of different personality profiles over the years (I find them fascinating and helpful in understanding what makes me and those around me tick and how to be self aware to continually improve). This was by far the most insightful - I would recommend to check out on the web at the Enneagram Institute if you are interested in learning more.

    Enjoy the Turkey Trot! I'm signed up for one too on Nov 14th.
    1714 days ago
  • no profile photo CD14941019
    Your blog covers a lot of meaningful thoughts so I will be rereading it to winnow out the more important ones that have struck me. Thanks for your posting. Jim
    1715 days ago
    I guess you could call me a 'social loner' . . . I have friends I love to do things with and my husband and I go out with others on a weekly basis. BUT, the reason I can enjoy those social interactions is because I spend big chunks of time by myself. I was the kid who spent hours and hours playing by myself in my room, by choice.

    I'm glad you have embraced solitude . . . and, with that, your 'authentic' self. Letting go of the expectations of others and accepting yourself is very powerful stuff!

    WTG on the 3 mile run!
    1718 days ago
    I've never understood it when people don't like being alone. My brother is a prime example - he goes nuts by himself. My husband handles solitude better, but he has to have noise all the time. I love going out to eat by myself, having time to just read or watch the sunset or something by myself. It's not that I don't like people, because I do. People are great! I just am an introvert who recharges by myself and in the quiet.
    1719 days ago
    Love it ...
    1719 days ago
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    Disclaimer: Weight loss results will vary from person to person. No individual result should be seen as a typical result of following the SparkPeople program.

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