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Am I a loner because I enjoy solitude and is that okay?
Old 09-26-2008, 07:29 PM   #1
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Am I a loner because I enjoy solitude and is that okay?

I FIREed four years ago or I guess semi-FIREed four years ago. I am 55, have a great DW, married over 30 years and have two grown kids. I enjoy being with people, talking to people and most all social settings. But, I also enjoy just being by myself. My DW is still working and is gone by the time I get up. I can spend the whole day, just hanging around the house, by myself and I have a great time. I sometimes think to myself that I am as happy as a pig in (the stuff pigs like to be happy in). I have friends, but none that I would call close friends. I read all the stuff about having close friends can extend your life and wonder what I am missing. I drove across the country, by myself and I really had a good time. I go to a local coffee shop, twice a week, by myself and read the paper. I have a great time. Am I crazy or just different or maybe a little of both. I think I have a very good self-worth attitude about myself, if that is what you call it. Are there any other folks out there that just enjoy life on their one lane road?

PS: When the DW if not working we spend time together, do things together and enjoy being together. So there is not a problem there, as far as I know.
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Old 09-26-2008, 07:47 PM   #2
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If you on't see a problem and DW doesn't see a problem, then what's the problem.

Enjoy the quiet.

ta,
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Old 09-26-2008, 07:48 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BillNOVA View Post
I FIREed four years ago or I guess semi-FIREed four years ago. I am 55, have a great DW, married over 30 years and have two grown kids. I enjoy being with people, talking to people and most all social settings. But, I also enjoy just being by myself. My DW is still working and is gone by the time I get up. I can spend the whole day, just hanging around the house, by myself and I have a great time. I sometimes think to myself that I am as happy as a pig in (the stuff pigs like to be happy in). I have friends, but none that I would call close friends. I read all the stuff about having close friends can extend your life and wonder what I am missing. I drove across the country, by myself and I really had a good time. I go to a local coffee shop, twice a week, by myself and read the paper. I have a great time. Am I crazy or just different or maybe a little of both. I think I have a very good self-worth attitude about myself, if that is what you call it. Are there any other folks out there that just enjoy life on their one lane road?

PS: When the DW if not working we spend time together, do things together and enjoy being together. So there is not a problem there, as far as I know.
After retirement I spent much time alone destressing. After several years I have found myself making some social connections. I do not have 'close friends', but do have various internet associates.

I still like spending time by myself at home, sometimes not speaking or leaving home for a day or two.

As long as you and DW are in comport, do not fret.
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Old 09-26-2008, 07:54 PM   #4
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There's nothing wrong with enjoying solitude. If you are married it's usually hard to come by. My only concern would be isolation over the long term. I have a couple friends that have lost the ability to interact, and they've become lonely and bitter (and fat). So enjoy, but also make efforts to interact with others. Maybe you could find a volunteer effort you enjoy too, to keep the social skills polished.

I hope to through hike the Appalachian Trail someday, which will involve ~6 months of relative solitude. I'm looking forward to that aspect of it, as well as the nature and the physical challenge. Nothing wrong with enjoying your own company. Just don't go nutty.
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Old 09-26-2008, 08:07 PM   #5
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Thanks Haley
I agree with what you said. I don't stay home everyday and keeping fit is very important to me. I walk over an hour each day, except if there is ice. I hope I never get to the lonely and bitter (and fat) issue and will need to keep an eye on that.
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Old 09-26-2008, 08:22 PM   #6
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.....I enjoy being with people, talking to people and most all social settings. But, I also enjoy just being by myself. My DW is still working and is gone by the time I get up. I can spend the whole day, just hanging around the house, by myself and I have a great time. I sometimes think to myself that I am as happy as a pig in (the stuff pigs like to be happy in). I have friends, but none that I would call close friends............I go to a local coffee shop, twice a week, by myself and read the paper. I have a great time. Am I crazy or just different or maybe a little of both. I think I have a very good self-worth attitude about myself, if that is what you call it. Are there any other folks out there that just enjoy life on their one lane road?......
I can relate quite well to what you stated! I'm the same way. I thoroughly enjoy being by myself. I don't need outside entertainment, or being around people all the time, or socializing, or whatever. I relish my solitude! It's been said that "solitude is the joy of being alone......and loneliness is the pain of being alone"....or something close to that. I personally thrive in the joy of solitude.

I do get out and socialize some, and have a good time doing it, but I'm always ready to return to my solitude. I hit the coffee shop 2 or 3 times a week to hang out with friends, and I go out to eat about once or twice a week, and I go to concerts and things like that too. But I'm just as content to hang out at home alone.....playing around in the gardens, or goofing around in my hobby room or the workshop, or watching some old B&W movies on TMC or AMC. I go for long rides through the countryside, and occasionally take a hike at one of the nearby state parks......all by myself! And as far as close friends......like you I have some very good friends, but none that I would really consider as 'close'.

I've pretty much always been this way, and don't see any need or reason to change. I'm VERY content with my life and myself....I really like ME!
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Old 09-26-2008, 08:34 PM   #7
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It is normal to like some private time, there are a few who even like being alone the vast majority of the time (I am one of those). The ability to choose when you want to socialize is really great.

As mentioned above though, it is essential to interact with at least one or two people on a semi-regular basis so that you don't lose your ability to communicate with others. So it is best to at least set aside a certain amount of time for some sort of activity where you will be around other people and communicating with them directly (the internet is really not good enough, at least for me, even though I love talking to people online). Perhaps a few hours a week doing some activity.

Aside from that though, you should not feel like you need to be around people most/all the time. That would seem like work to me.
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Old 09-26-2008, 08:40 PM   #8
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But, I also enjoy just being by myself. My DW is still working and is gone by the time I get up. I can spend the whole day, just hanging around the house, by myself and I have a great time. I sometimes think to myself that I am as happy as a pig in (the stuff pigs like to be happy in). I have friends, but none that I would call close friends. I read all the stuff about having close friends can extend your life and wonder what I am missing. I drove across the country, by myself and I really had a good time. I go to a local coffee shop, twice a week, by myself and read the paper. I have a great time. Am I crazy or just different or maybe a little of both. I think I have a very good self-worth attitude about myself, if that is what you call it. Are there any other folks out there that just enjoy life on their one lane road?
So, you're capable of being responsible for your own entertainment?

Nothing wrong with that. Spouse and I enjoy being hermits together.
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Old 09-26-2008, 08:47 PM   #9
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Thanks Plex
I work part time as a background investigator. I meet, talk to and interview numerous people each week. I enjoy meeting new people and agree I need to keep up my personal contact with people.
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Old 09-26-2008, 10:16 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by BillNOVA View Post
I FIREed four years ago or I guess semi-FIREed four years ago. I am 55, have a great DW, married over 30 years and have two grown kids. I enjoy being with people, talking to people and most all social settings. But, I also enjoy just being by myself. My DW is still working and is gone by the time I get up. I can spend the whole day, just hanging around the house, by myself and I have a great time. I sometimes think to myself that I am as happy as a pig in (the stuff pigs like to be happy in). I have friends, but none that I would call close friends. I read all the stuff about having close friends can extend your life and wonder what I am missing. I drove across the country, by myself and I really had a good time. I go to a local coffee shop, twice a week, by myself and read the paper. I have a great time. Am I crazy or just different or maybe a little of both. I think I have a very good self-worth attitude about myself, if that is what you call it. Are there any other folks out there that just enjoy life on their one lane road?


PS: When the DW if not working we spend time together, do things together and enjoy being together. So there is not a problem there, as far as I know.
I also enjoy solitude and time spent alone. My job is rather unusual in that I work alone much of the time. At least that reduces coworker related problems that drive some to ER as soon as possible After spending 25 years of my life raising children and enduring the often noisy world of family life (and a serious lack of privacy that comes with it), I've come to savor quiet times.
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Old 09-26-2008, 10:44 PM   #11
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I am another who enjoys solitude and have no problem being by myself. In fact, I plan to retire a couple of years before my DH so that I can have plenty of "me time" before he retires and we are together 24x7.
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Old 09-26-2008, 10:47 PM   #12
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sounds like you have a good mix of both. balance is key. peace and quiet is great, eh?
my experience is...since most of my friends of close age are still at the salt mines, i tend to do things alone also. but i make sure i get social contact as often as i feel like it. some days i spend totally by myself, either at home or i go for a spin in the 'Stang to enjoy the wide open country roads. well, alone except for 2 dogs and 9 goldfish and 1 orange salamander. the salamander is a recent addition to the zoo.
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Old 09-26-2008, 11:22 PM   #13
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I can ditto all the other responses here. You're your own person. You know what makes you content by this time in your life. Don't feel as if you need to conform to some societal "norm." We know where most of those "norms" get you (debt, living beyond your means, chasing fashions, keeping up appearances, etc.).

Enjoy!
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Old 09-27-2008, 03:16 AM   #14
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In all your quiet time you might pick up the Introvert Advantage How to Thrive in an Extrovert World by Marti Olsen Laney. It's a great book and my guess is that you'll see yourself in it.
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Old 09-27-2008, 04:00 AM   #15
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It's been said that "solitude is the joy of being alone......and loneliness is the pain of being alone"....or something close to that.
"loneliness is a word to express the pain of being alone...solitude is a word to express the glory of being alone."~~paul tillich, an existentialist theologian, and a bit of a loner lolol.

i catagorize those i know on a continuum but segmentally definable as best friend, close friend, good friend, friend, aquaintance and stranger. a stranger being just a friend i've yet to meet. oh yeah, a final catagory, of course, would be those i don't care to know; they are not my friends though they once might have been.

i only have one best friend at a time. throughout my life i've had four best friends including two growing up. as a full-grown adult, i've had one sexual best friend and one platonic best friend, both of whom i've sadly buried. i currently am without a best friend and i find that aspect of my life to be lonely, even though i still have many close & good friends.

close & good friends morph one to another, generally depending on circumstance. friends can become good friends given time & compatibility but friends can also morph back into aquaintances. i've recently learned that three of my good friends from around the country will be converging on my house this winter for a reunion. i love & highly value my friends and i've worked to maintain my relationships with them. i still enjoy friendships with many from as far back as the sandbox.

recently i lost two close friends, a cousin of mine who was my friend since childhood, my good friend since our teens and my close friend since our mid20s, and another (not a cousin) who was my friend since about 1984. they both started to abandon me during my ordeal with alzheimer's & finished me off right after my mom died. i could not be more hurt.

people change, relationships change, i learn to live with that. my cousin had taken to new ageism which allowed her to either adopt as new or which enhanced inherently nasty characteristics (she actually said to my face though not in these words that my mother's alzheimer's was her own damned fault--my mother who took this cousin in as a daughter), while my college friend never maintained any relationships in her life outside of her sizeable family. i was seriously her only friend. for years i fought her fighting me off and finally, after over 20 years of friendship, she pushed too hard when i was too weak from losing my mom to counter her neuroses. those two left me with an oddly conflicted resolve: farewell my friends, may you rot in hell.

only three other people who i loved have dumped me. a lover in college found me too depressing when i was young and out to save the world. he told me he thought i was doing a great job, only go do it around someone else. i do not now consider that he was ever a true friend, just a two-year mistake.

then my phoney step-grandmother pushed me out of her life after my grandfather died. we learned that she had changed his will while he suffered alzheimer's, stealing from us his legacy. the last thing she said to me was "the only reason you love me is because i used to sneak dollar bills into your hand when you were a child." that was the last thing i ever let her say to me.

another good friend dumped me upon getting married, telling me that she knew she was in the wrong but that she was no longer capable of being my good friend.

so i've been burned five times in 50 years. you'd think i'd learn. but what i've learned instead is that you take your chances when you make friends with someone. you open yourself up and you leave yourself vulnerable. i've suffered some pain, but even that adds depth to life and i am buoyed still by my own strength and by the many successful relationships which i continue to enjoy.

i can swim on my own, not a problem. but, playful by nature, i find it more fun to swim with a buddy and i find this to be a bit of a problem with early retirement. there are not enough people to play with who know how to swim in the deep end.

i enjoy swimming laps too; i very much value my solitude. but i don't think i would like much living in a world where if i lost my best friend, i'd have no good and close friends to swim with me. it becomes harder to make friends the more you grow out of the sandbox and the farther you swim from shore.

so go make friends. the worst that can happen is they'll rip your heart out.
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Old 09-27-2008, 07:08 AM   #16
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I FIREed four years ago or I guess semi-FIREed four years ago. I am 55, have a great DW, married over 30 years and have two grown kids. I enjoy being with people, talking to people and most all social settings. But, I also enjoy just being by myself. My DW is still working and is gone by the time I get up. I can spend the whole day, just hanging around the house, by myself and I have a great time. I sometimes think to myself that I am as happy as a pig in (the stuff pigs like to be happy in). I have friends, but none that I would call close friends. I read all the stuff about having close friends can extend your life and wonder what I am missing. I drove across the country, by myself and I really had a good time. I go to a local coffee shop, twice a week, by myself and read the paper. I have a great time. Am I crazy or just different or maybe a little of both. I think I have a very good self-worth attitude about myself, if that is what you call it. Are there any other folks out there that just enjoy life on their one lane road?

PS: When the DW if not working we spend time together, do things together and enjoy being together. So there is not a problem there, as far as I know.

I'm very similar to you - and introvert. Being around many people drains me. My job requires it, but on weekends and vacations, I feel much better being alone or with 1-2 people at most.
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Old 09-27-2008, 09:52 AM   #17
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This has come up before, and a surprising number of forum members feel the same way (including me).

Thanks for the book recommendation, Neep.
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Old 09-27-2008, 11:40 AM   #18
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Are there any other folks out there that just enjoy life on their one lane road?
I'm highly introverted myself and have lived alone all my life (except when I was in a family situation as a child). I rarely experience loneliness and when I do it passes quickly (I hypothesize that the pain of loneliness is one of the major motivators to be social). I FIRE'd because I was under a lot of pressure at work to assume duties that would have increased social-type interactions with co-workers. I just couldn't take any more "socializing" at work. It's for this reason that I can't imagine returning to work; it would literally drive me crazy.

BUT...

Thirty years ago, I moved across the country to the Pacific Northwest. I left behind a dear friend who was like me in many ways: he lived alone, never married, etc. I heard through the grapevine later that he moved to Florida a year or so after I departed and lived in a cabin in the woods (or 'glades, or whatever). After a year or two of solitude he had a mental breakdown/went crazy. Apparently, after some professional "intervention" he ended up back in our hometown, where he attempted to put the pieces of his life back together. The last I heard, he had died; i don't know the details.

I'm tempted to treat my friend's saga as a warning about the downsides of a life of solitude. But I have no idea what to do about it.
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Old 09-27-2008, 12:26 PM   #19
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Interesting topic....loneliness vs. solitude....I like solitude around other people esp. at work....Some people have talked about quitting work and losing social contacts but really I have always been a quality over quantity guy. The only time that I feel loneliness is when I lose something from one of the handful of really close friends or family members....and reconnecting with those people from time to time is all that is nec. Never getting married would probably be hard for me though.
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Old 09-27-2008, 12:55 PM   #20
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I can't help but see the irony, in sharing one's satisfaction with solitude in an Internet forum...
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