Life can sometimes get super engaging, demanding, and challenging.
It may be that there is a lot to do or that there is a lot to hold on to. It may be that there are new opportunities to hop on. But it is also crucial to remember every once in a while that, just like in chess, one can never continually win by simply moving forward.
There are times when taking a step back will help you win. This applies to life as well.
In life, just like in the game of chess, we all make plans, and make plans to back up our plans; but so does everyone else. The competition, strangers, and the world at large. The result is that our original plans are bound to change in order to be “reasonable” – in order to serve us well.
However, the chess player needs to keep in mind that the goal is to checkmate the King, and not necessarily to evade attacks or chase after Pawns. A good life isn’t always about reacting, or acting impulsively.
It requires thinking, sacrificing, and letting go sometimes.
The thing with being super-enmeshed with your day-to-day activities is that you could easily lose sight of who you are, what you want, where you are, and where you are heading. Sometimes you begin to cling to the unimportant things, whilst sacrificing the important things and this is not good.
To live a good life – to win the game of life – we need to constantly listen to our inner voice and reassess our lives based on our values in order to know if we are headed in the right direction, and what to do next.
And all these can only be achieved when we learn to step back from the activities of life – when we withdraw ourselves and practice having alone time – because that’s the only time we gain the birds-eye view, to see everything and choose for ourselves.
Read this next: Top 5 Simple Ways to Start a Self-Care Routine in Your Life
Before we continue, I just want to point out that there is a distinction between loneliness and solitude (being alone for a while).
Loneliness involves “feeling” disconnected from people (even while still with them physically).
Solitude, or practicing alone time, involves physically removing yourself from everyone (or work) in order to connect better with yourself (and the people you left, when you are back).
Loneliness or isolation feels like a punishment, but solitude, and having alone time feels refreshing and is very healthy.
So, moving on, below are some of the benefits of getting away from people and work for a while:
There is a popular quote which says,
“Direction is more important than speed”
and it is very correct. Ships don’t sail off in whatever direction the wind and tides toss them but are directed by sailors to the desired destination – even if it means fighting against violent winds.
Being alone gives you the opportunity to ask yourself important questions such as,
When these questions are answered, you feel a surge of meaning and purpose burble up to the apex of your being, and surging through your veins – and then you have drive and direction.
It enables you to recharge mentally, emotionally, and physically.
Sometimes, working too hard can make you grow resentful. All the busyness can take a toll on your mind and body, but getting alone time may be all you need to come back stronger, better, and happier.
Needless to say, being alone increases your creativity, concentration, memory, and consequently your productivity.
Having a large network is good, but having loyal and useful people around is golden.
Being alone helps you figure out the people you truly care about, and those who are essential (so that you can invest more time and energy in those people). It also helps you weed out the toxic ones, or to dedicate less and less time to those who aren’t helpful.
Sometimes we worry about things that no longer have any bearing on us (or that never had any in the first place). By stepping back and gaining perspective, we begin to break free from our fears of maybe what people think, or some other inconsequential dread.
Because we are bound to experience life one day at a time, it is easy for us to forget how much we’ve been through and achieved as a result. Taking a break can help you see that, and make you grateful for everything.
How you decide to get your alone time may vary from the next person, but the idea is to make sure it is truly a getaway, and also peaceful.
It could be going to a movie, going for a hike, starting a long and interesting book you’ve been meaning to read, learning a new instrument or craft, visiting a museum, or some other pleasant endeavor.
In the end, what matters is that you are able to enter a mental state where you are not just reacting, but rather relaxing, reminiscing, or imagining.