The Benefits of Solitude

Image by Sasha Freemind on Unsplash

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Americans are preoccupied with being alone, especially as we age.

We are taught there are few things worse than living out our senior years without companionship. Maybe that’s why obituaries typically note the deceased “was surrounded by family and friends.”

The benefits of solitude are rarely discussed.

Loneliness in perspective

Our fear of loneliness – often stoked by the media – can lead to making bad choices. One study found the fear of a lack of companionship as we age caused respondents to make compromises when selecting a marriage partner, perhaps lowering the quality of their lives.

Another study found a “sizeable gap” between the concerns about old age expressed by young and middle-aged adults and the actual experience of older Americans.

I don’t mean to imply loneliness isn’t an issue. About one in six adults 65 and older reported feeling lonely.