How Being Alone has Become a Commodity

I was born in 2001, ever since I've been surrounded by technology. I learned to use a computer when I was 7. I've never known what it's like to not have that sort of tech in my life. When I hear stories from my parents about their lives when they were younger I am faced with the stark difference between their lives and mine, and how society has changed since then.

I spend upwards of 8 hours with my friends every day, usually online. While I'm awake, it would be a pretty good bet to say that I'm talking to someone. It's actually more uncommon for me to be on my own than for me to be online with one of my friends, and that's really interesting to me.

My generation is one of the first to grow up like this, and it's so different I think it's worth talking about, because I'd argue being alone is not necessarily a bad thing. Humans are social animals and whenever I find myself not talking to someone I do my best to initiate a conversation, but when no one is available to talk to, or I can't get online, I find my mind works much better.

A week or two ago I had to take two ferry rides in two days alone. I worked on things that I had been neglecting for weeks, and I solved problems with my work that had been plaguing me for ages. And the most interesting thing to me was that I savored that time, and even went so far to try and get more of it. When I was isolated from the world, with no way to contact anyone on that boat and no temptations from my phone, I thought more clearly and focused more than I usually can.

The availability of platforms like Discord and Teamspeak make me feel like I should be online when I can be, enjoying spending time with my friends, making jokes and playing games. But it's not a bad to not talk to people once in a while. For my own work and happiness, I'm going to try to make more of those moments where I can be alone, and maybe you should try it too.

September 3rd 2017