That quote sums up my feelings when it comes to the virtues of solitude. I don’t consider myself an antisocial person, but from the outside, it might appear so. People are great, I just don’t like being around them. Just kidding! I love people! In fact, my love for people is the main drive behind my street photography. The human condition is very interesting and I love capturing candid moments. However, I don’t have a need to be around people. I am perfectly happy not going to lunch with a group of colleagues or meeting up at the bar after work. I don’t need to have a big shindig at my house or watch the big game or fight at a friend’s house. There is absolutely nothing wrong with these gatherings or meeting in groups in general, I just don’t feel I’m missing anything. In fact, I prefer my free time to be either with my family or just me pursuing my hobbies like amateur astronomy and photography. I find great pleasure in those two endeavors outside of my family time. Besides, when I throw work into the mix, I don’t have time for social events. I am perfectly happy missing the big event so I can peer through one of my telescopes at God’s creation or go hiking through nature capturing her beauty. So, what are the virtues of solitude? I found a list of 6 virtues by Kevin Daum of Inc.500. I can relate to each of these.
1. Quiet your mind.
You know what brain fatigue feels like. You can’t focus and have difficulty retaining small details. Add a little more stimulus or noise and you just feel exhausted at the end of the day. Private time allows you to turn down the volume on the outside world. Your ears may keep buzzing at first, but after 15 minutes with no one around, you’ll start to feel the silence seep in and soon you may even hear something surprising, your own deep thoughts.
2. Unleash your creativity.
All that inbound communication can squash your own creative capabilities. Next time your are trying to think big and different, find a quiet room, close the door, and expand your brain. Allow yourself to float and dream. You may even solve stubborn small problems with great new ideas.
3. Engage in sincere reflection.
When everyone is pushing himself or herself upon you, it’s hard to even think small thoughts about yourself. When you are alone, you can focus solely on you. You can examine your behaviors and test your assumptions. You can ponder your path to ensure you are heading toward your preferred destiny.
4. Let ideas percolate.
Not all ideas sound great at first listen. They might sound insane at the second and third listen as well. But, that doesn’t mean that there isn’t brilliance in some part of them. Sometimes their actual merit is overpowered by the advocacy of the presenter. When all others are gone, you can ponder a crazy idea or solution and allow it to simmer. It’s possible you may find some benefit that surprisingly bubbles to the top.
5. Improve concentration.
If you are constantly bouncing from person to person and task to task, you are bound to create distraction and inefficiency. By the end of the day the constant switching from stimulus to stimulus can leave you frazzled and unfocused. Just 20 minutes a day of solitude can help you regain your focus so you can reset and concentrate on important and challenging projects.
6. Find clarity.
As incoming data piles up in our mind, the path can seem cloudy and opaque. People in your life can be helpful with feedback but at a certain point your journey requires personal ownership. Be your own best friend and guide to the future that belong to only you. Own the accomplishment in private and then you can happily share the glory in public with those who support you along the way.
If you follow my blog, you will recognize the locations in these photos. Williamsport Lakes in Williamsport, Tennessee is one of my favorite natural areas to visit. I could take a picture of these lakes everyday from the same vantage point and each image would look totally different. That’s why I keep coming back here because the scene is beautiful and it’s never the same. This is my impromptu goto location when I need a quick encounter with nature. These photos reminded me of nature’s solitude and my own personal proclivity for detachment.
The shots above were taken just before sunset. I came back on a later date to take the shots below. The following images were taken early one morning on a cloudy day.
I hope you enjoyed the pictures. I also hope you found some benefit from the list of virtues. I find getting out into nature a good way to recharge my batteries. As for the photos, I continue to enjoy using Superior 400. If I’m in a pinch, and need to grab some film, there’s a good chance I can visit a local store to find a few rolls. As always, thanks for reading!