Be Alone, It Won’t Kill You…

Sometimes I run into a great piece of writing that is so true, so beautiful, and so real I want to share it with you. I did not write the piece below, but it touches me deep inside. It was written by my friend, Kenny Howard. Kenny sent it to me in response to an article I posted on Facebook. I share his response with his permission:

The original article that triggered this response is here: “The End of Solitude.” It’s a great read. Here’s Kenny’s Response:

Great article on being alone. It came to me at the same time when I was looking up a way to disable the wifi on my 10 year old’s Ipod Touch. Stupid me thought that he would actually use it to listen to music! Nope. It is like a crack addiction and he brings it into the bathroom with him. This was a “gift” from grandpa for Christmas and it has been taken away for periods of time and has been the root of bad moods for him as well. I’d like to throw the thing in the trash. I know this is the modern age and that is how kids communicate, but what happened to books? My kids live 3 blocks from a lush green wooded paradise, yet they have never set foot in it! “Go climb a tree, skin your knee, break an arm, I don’t care, just go be a BOY!!!” Why? Why USE your imagination and build a treefort when imagination comes to me free of charge or effort right over my handheld device 24/7? I found out today how to disable the majority of his usage for this time-robbing device.
You’re old like me so I can use this phrase: When I was young… we lived in a canyon that held all sorts of boyhood mystery and we LIVED in the creek that ran through it. We’d dam it up, build a ropeswing, poke sticks at dead, stinky animals, race stick-boats down the creek, swim in it when it was summertime and the list was endless because we had the TIME and the IMAGINATION. Today children have neither. They are never alone and they never get to know themselves or become comfortable in their own skin. They expect to be entertained around the clock because there is always a screen of one sort or another that will provide entertainment. My wife likes the fact that he can text her on this device and thus stay in touch, but beyond that feature I find these and other such devices pure and simple robbery of the childhood experience.

I have a computer in the office at work and have gotten rid of the one at home; don’t miss it and have more time for my family, more time to read, more time to play with my dogs, go for a walk, work out, play my guitar, etc. I found out that FB is another addiction and I soon found myself with way too many “friends” that I would never invite over for dinner who needed to share with me every intimate detail of their lives and I in turn became the voyeur who had to read all of this useless trivia in order to “keep up”! Screw that. I probably hurt some feelings, but it was out of control so I pruned my friend list from over 200 to somewhere around 30 which is a more accurate count of my true friends. If we’re such good friends, then why don’t we know each other’s email adresses which is all FB is in the first place; another way to email someone.

I am comfortable in my own skin. I know my skin. I know my strengths and more importantly, my weaknesses. I lived alone for YEARS before I met my wife and knew she was the one. No one does this anymore. What’s wrong with being alone? How can you ever know yourself if you never spend time with yourself? How can you ever be in a healthy relationship and expect someone else to know you? They say good counseling hurts. Living alone will also show your warts and this is important information to know. Getting in touch with your human weaknesses will allow you to work on those weaknesses and to someday become a better person, father, husband, neighbor, etc. I hear people talk after they break-up with someone and swear that they will not date anyone else for at least a year as they want to focus on themselves and just be alone. GREAT! Never happens. We have become relationship tree monkeys who swing from one relationship to another as we are so terrified of “being alone”. These people will never find “the one” if they are constantly settling for whoever comes along because when the phone call of destiny finally rings, their line will be busy with mediocrity…