The Fear of Loneliness
Why do we fear being alone?
I am not talking about being alone forever, rather I am speaking of being alone for a short period of time without any interaction with other members of the human race. Rarely do I see a person who is walking by themselves who is not talking on a cell phone. At the university I watch as students leave class, pick up their phone and talk while they are walking to their car. I do not try to listen to some of these conversations, but sometimes I cannot help it. Typically these people are talking to their roommates, their parents or their significant others. Usually they are on their way to see these people, and usually their conversation is about what they are currently doing (which is walking to their car or the bus after class). I am sure this is not the case for everyone, but I fear this is the case for too many people.
We seem to demand activity at all times in our lives. We demand high speed internet, we demand thirty second news sound bites, we cannot wait ten minutes for our food at a restaurant, we cannot sit through three minutes of commercials during our favorite television program, we cannot listen to a song longer than three minutes without getting bored, we cannot wait 2-3 business days for our online auction purchases to arrive at our front door…However, we do not demand even thirty minutes a day where each one of us can sit and think and be quiet and be *gulp* alone.
I sometimes wonder what this world (or at least our western culture) would be like if each one of us took a few minutes to be alone and to reflect, rest, pray or meditate. Maybe instead of taking out your road rage on the construction workers, who are “delaying” your drive home by halting traffic, take those few minutes to reflect. Instead of turning on the TV as soon as you get home, kick off your shoes and enjoy the quiet. Maybe all we need is a little time to ourselves. Then again, that just sounds too easy…