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Many of us can’t stand being alone. As a matter of fact, it’s the leading cause of mindless diversion. Still, we need to be independent; expecting others to carry our baggage is debilitating. That’s why it’s in our best interest to examine our minds and figure out what keeps our peace intact.

What 2 Years Alone Did to My Mind

I had a unique experience, and I wouldn’t want to limit this article to what makes it irrelevant to you. I intend for this to be a universal experience that you can gain from vicariously.

Before this all happened, I found being alone and loneliness synonymous. Now, I know better. When you have your best interest at heart: being alone is therapeutic. It’s when we look to others to complete ourselves that relationships become tainted and unsustainable. If everyone looked inward and spent more time alone, there would be no co-dependency.

You can be perfectly content while on you’re own. But then we’re reminded of something. Maybe it’s an expectation that we had for ourselves. For who we supposed we be at this point. Possibly while teenagers, we planned by adulthood to be married and have children. Or when we’re around our family, we’re stressed by memories connected to an obsolete version of ourselves. This creates a paradox between the current incarnation of you and antiquated assumptions projected onto you.

We are only thoughts away from becoming the best versions of ourselves.

Expectations are restrictions. They take away space for negative emotions to roam. Before we know it, they’re back at the forefront of our experience. It’s not that expectations create negativity; it’s that our consent to them is like a sumo wrestler sitting on our chest. It’s getting harder and harder to breathe, but who’s fault is it? Speak up, and communicate your needs, but also subdue your ego. Take care of the superlative details in silence. If two years alone taught me one thing, it’s: 

becoming lean requires trimming the fat.

We all want to become productive and increase efficiency, but at what price? Our peace of mind? I don’t think so. It’s not worth it. Think again, reconsider your options, question your intentions.

I became way more self-reliant.

Before my solitary adventure, I was a bit of a city slicker. Even the sounds of traffic and flickering lights lulled me to sleep. But there is no such commotion in the country, which is why that specific aspect of me had a painful death.

A tad bit dramatic? Sure, but it isn’t an embellishment. It’s the same when we are raised in a house full of conflict. What do you think we bring with us into our marriages/partnerships? Strife sticks to us like shrapnel from a grenade. It splinters inside and infects our peace of mind.

I soon realized how challenging it was to adapt to my new surroundings. For everything the city is, the country is the opposite: it’s quiet, peaceful, and has hardly any people. In my first few months, I would blast music to drown out the silence. But little did I know, I was only delaying my inevitable growth.

We are only thoughts away from becoming the best versions of ourselves.

I turned my back on city life and embraced nature.

Only when I was encouraged by the simplicity of nature did I see how complex my damages were. It wasn’t even so much a personality as it was an attachment to trauma. I put down my phone and picked up a shovel. I stopped needing to know what was happening in the world. And instead, I focused on the world I was building from the ground up.

I didn’t need anyone’s approval or permission. There weren’t even any neighbours that could see what I was doing. I felt freedom in a way most people never will. Not just experienced it but was exposed by it. Like an interrogation light, revealing all of my inhibitions.

I began to question everything about myself: how I criticized others for not caring what people think. Their exuberance was a painful reminder of how stifled I had become. I was so concerned about not embarrassing myself that my actions became paralyzed by fear.

My removal of pettiness leads to a personal expansion.

This portion of my journey wasn’t so much about becoming anything. It involved the undoing of my archaic programming. If a tree falls in the woods, and no one is around, does it make a sound? Suppose my negative memories and emotions come brewing to the surface, and I’m all alone. Did it ever have anything to do with anyone else?

I became aware of other people's effects on me.

The absence of distractions head-locked my attention. I was forced to face the consequences of my lifestyle. At that moment, I was ambushed by a crescendo of emotion I had been repressing.

I felt aloneness in the same way as when taking an ice bath. At first, it takes your breath away, but then you feel warmer than you ever did before. You recondition yourself to function regardless of circumstances. It changed the way I discerned the world. If cold is cleansing and rectifying, why was I protecting myself from it? Why was I sheltering myself from my own best interest?

We are programmed at a young age to always be around people and to believe that’s normality. But so are bad habits. Inhaling smoke or vapours, eating meat, and drinking alcohol are all considered normal. And so is stress and fear. It’s also normal to have a mid-life crisis or to want to numb yourself / seek escape. Just because something’s familiar doesn’t mean it’s beneficial. When we rationalize negative behaviour, we sell our souls.

Having peer pressure weighing down on me like I’m some sort of mouldable jig-saw piece. I remember the moment I accepted my differences and owned up to my originality. I felt relieved, liberated, and ready to stop procrastinating. Maybe I would never fit-in, but I’m okay with not forcing myself into their confusing puzzle.

Don’t let the fact you have potential be the reason you get suckered in by manipulation. 

Solving my inner conflict prompted me to mediate differences between others.

As I became more self-assured, my ability to lead cascaded naturally. With that, I was able to master a pack of Rottweilers and one very ambitious Doberman. These dogs, without me, were unruly and prone to violence. I was the lynchpin to their camaraderie. They would follow me, adhering to my every word, without the requirement of leashes.

It didn’t take two years in nature to teach me that dogs are more loyal than people. Most are well aware of canine devotion. But even so, their commitment is still subject to the whimsy of a beast. I still never took their chasing of rabbits or fascination with local female dogs as a betrayal. It’s animalistic. But why is it when people act accordingly, it feels so personal?

Aren’t dogs greedy too? Are we more accepting of their hunger because we dictate what they eat? Or is it because we expect more from each other. Careful now; expectations are slippery slopes.

In the woods, I learned that we are not products of our environment. It's actually the other way around.

Even in a peaceful place, there are still people that bring their chaos. A field that can be a sanctuary for you can also be the battleground between predator and prey. Liberty can be a dual-edge sword, but with that comes a choice: do you focus on what you’re creating, or do you criticize others?

The price of freedom is the sacrifice of security. With that, a part of me thrived. My newfound knowledge obliterated another aspect of me. Like shadows being castaway by light, or the innocence of a child stripped away by maturity. The little boy in me that feared the dark was really stressing the unknown. Squandering his vision on worst-case-scenarios and contingency plans.

That time alone in nature helped me realize that it’s not enough to be brave. It would be best if you were free of fear altogether, operating on a higher frequency plain. Where nothing is impossible. Which is the importance of focus. Your mind is a tool for directing your creative-conscious energy. And anything you shine a light on is empowered.

That’s the thing about living in the middle of nowhere. The other people around think differently, too. Every thought of yours is enhanced because there are fewer distractions, fewer safety nets. You experience the sobriety of self-control. The longer you live this way, the more you change, like water digging a river or pressure building mountains.

Alone = All is one

Part of me was grieving the city; another part buried myself in work. I had dreams that were unlikely to be manifested, and that caused me frustration. I had snuffed all momentum in my filmmaking career, and I fervently wanted to tell my stories. So I turned lemons into lemonade. I taught myself how to compose and produce music. That is a story for another time, though.

Returning to the city after those two years, everything seemed surreal in retrospect. The lights, sounds, and smells were all so overwhelming. While dealing with my transition, everyone was so curious and eager to hear my experience.

Above all else, I found genuine satisfaction in being alone—a constant renewal within getting to know myself. I realize everything outside of us is a distraction until we are content with being by ourselves. This could be a vicious cycle if you were programmed to become uncomfortable by being alone.

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