Thoughts on books, family, and life in one impressive package.

Image of man sitting on an empty beachI mentioned earlier in the week that when I am away from my family, on any sort of trip, I crave solitude.  I do not mind going out to dinner with a group of co-workers or friends, but after a certain point in the evening, I just want to go back to my hotel room and revel in the silence, do whatever I want and relax.  This need to be alone gets particularly worse the longer I am away from home, to the point where I have to fight against the urge to stay in my room rather than eat with co-workers.  Room service becomes my best friend…or would if I let it. 

As I was contemplating this conundrum (while alone in my room), I thought about bloggers and bibliophiles.  As people who love to read, we are no strangers of the need for solitude – the absence of human activity or the state of being alone.  We just want to read our books in peace.  As people who thrive in an online environment, I would even go so far to say as we are more comfortable being alone than we are in a group of people.  We like the Internet for what it can offer us and for the fact that often, online relationships are just a bit easier for us to manage and foster than those in real life.  We feel we can be ourselves and open up in an online environment more than we can or are willing to do to those who retain a physical presence in our life.  We do this through blogging.  It fulfills a social need for us, while allowing us to remain in seclusion if we so desire.

Man sitting in silhouette with back against wall and head down

However, when does this need for solitude cross the line into anti-social behavior?  Is my desire to ditch my co-workers and order room service too extreme or understandable?  When the phone has been ringing all day, and I have had a myriad of e-mails to answer in the course of a morning, is it wrong for me to want to sit at my desk to eat my lunch rather than eat with my friends?  Do read-a-thons go too far in fostering that need for solitude?  Do blogs?  Is solitude a bad thing?  And if it is not, when does it become dangerous?

Personally, I feel like there is a very fine line between the two, and sometimes I think it could be very easy for me to cross the line.  Thankfully, I have very good friends and a husband that will prevent me from doing so.  I have also worked hard to come out of my shell to be better able to fight my tendency to want to be alone.  However, in situations like business trips, where I am sitting in meetings all day and am constantly surrounded by people, I find myself slipping back into the idea of just wanting to be left in peace.   Given the reaction of my co-workers, I am uncomfortable with this feeling because I feel I am the only one.  Am I truly?  Or is everyone else better at fighting this tendency than I am?

So what do you think, my friends?  When is too much solitude a bad thing?  And really, am I the only one who struggles with this?

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