Alone vs. Independent

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personal-headshots_midlife-haircutIn “My Midlife,” I’ve often strived to be independent, yet sometimes I’m alone. One seems positive, while the other seems a bit negative. But are they really? What’s the difference?

As an only child, I grew up doing a lot by myself. My parents taught me life skills, each focusing on what they could bring to me individually and then together as a parental unit. For instance, mom taught me about baking and house chores. Dad taught me how to work on my car and how to build things. Both taught me leadership skills and seeing things through to the end.

Both my parents always taught me that I needed to be self-sufficient, meaning always able to take care of myself and not to get myself into sticky situations. Well, the older I got, I’ve been able take care of myself and able to get myself out of jams. But it has only been by the blessings of God and the people that He has brought into my life and the skills he has honed in on me.

To me being independent has allowed me to grow as an individual with my own thoughts, beliefs and opinions. I’ve been able to live and travel on my own. Yet being independent has brought on being alone.

To be independent, according to Dictionary.com, is to “not [be] influenced or controlled by others in matters of opinion, conduct, etc.; thinking or acting for oneself.” Another definition, “Not relying on another or others for aid or support.” Though that is great to have such life skills, is it healthy? What I’ve learned in “My Midlife” is that we have strengths and weakness. We need others to balance those with us. Even The New International Version of the Bible (BibleGateway.com), in Genesis 2:18 speaks about “The Lord God said, ‘It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.’ ” And though I choose marriage, I’ve yet to find my ever after. But until then, I as a single midlifer, live my daily life honing in on skills that I’m good at and working within my weaknesses.

But what does Dictionary.com say about being alone? It is an adjective meaning “1. Separate, apart, or isolated from others. 2. To the exclusion of all others or all else.” So it looks like being alone is by choice. And for me, as a single midlifer who is choosing marriage, I have not chosen to be alone. I balance my life by going out with friends, visiting family, traveling, church and other outings where I interact with other people.

Wikipedia states that alone refers to “Solitude, a state of seclusion or isolation, i.e., lack of contact with people” and “Loneliness, negative emotions arising from seclusion.” Though this sounds awful, in “My Midlife” I’ve come to find a comfort within, during these times. In getting older, I’ve gotten calmer about some things. I enjoy the more mellow treats that life has to offer.

So though in “My Midlife,” I continue to strive to be independent, I balance my life to lack the negatives of being alone. I fulfill my season where I am now as one day I’ll be balancing my independent spirit and my alone time.

Discussions

  1. Peter Reply

    Good post. I struggle with these two words and how I use them to describe myself. With what you have here, I find myself more in the “alone” category, but trying to remain more independent. Finding more activities can help move the needle.

    • Writer2015 Reply

      Thanks for your feedback Peter. After reading your response I was reminded of a time I was alone. I was walking down an escalator in a crowded mall, but was alone. I had recently had a heartbreak and just felt alone. No one could fill that void. I felt the same way with my Mom and her dogs at my house after Persephone passed. There was a person and animals there, but not that specific one I craved. The same with work or activities, as you suggested. As I sit here and work and write, I don’t feel alone. I also think being on the Web and Facebook, in particularly, let’s us know we’re not alone. Peter I hope you find peace in the alone versus lonely times of life. Blessings ~ Monique

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