Finding Comfort Alone

The highest and most decisive experience of all . . . is to be alone with . . . [one’s] own self, or whatever else one chooses to call the objectivity of the psyche. The patient must be alone if he is to find out what it is that supports him when he can no longer support himself. Only this experience can give him an indestructible foundation.

Carl Jung

I am back in my office today for the first time since early March. I have been in a coworking place in Evanston the last month, so I anticipated the experience to be not that much different — but this is not the case at all. Being in my office building again is providing me with a tremendous feeling of comfort. Just having a home base gives me comfort — even if there’s almost no one here.

Someone suggested to me yesterday that this project, while it is certainly an outlet for vulnerability, can also turn into a vessel for isolating myself from other people and communicating alone into the vast unknown. I do not reject this idea. It is something I have been considering ever since I restarted in March.

Throughout 2019, I took a number of strides towards becoming more comfortable with the extroverted parts of my personality. But since the lockdown began, I’ve felt it necessary to reacquaint myself with my inner life and to find some comfort there. It has meant focusing on more solitary exercise pursuits, running instead of group exercise. I’ve been reading mostly towards the purpose of finding material for writing as well.

As a result, I feel much more comfortable alone right now that I did early last year. I remember being away in Hamburg for nearly two weeks in June 2019 and was struck with a terrible case of insomnia. It felt like the early scenes in “Lost in Translation” — the isolation was unbearable. Now, some time alone in a hotel room sounds like a great opportunity to catch up on sleep and practice my guitar and bass.

If this crisis forces all of us to find more comfort in solitary activities and to find a better balance between our introverted and extroverted selves, it could end up being beneficial to many, especially those who need the alone time to find a spark of creativity.