The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
The past year and a half has been long, strange, and lonely. However, as the months have passed, I’ve found that I–and many of the other people in my life–have begun to revel in the loneliness.
I remember talking on the phone with my mom at the beginning of the summer as more people were getting vaccinated, and cities began to reopen fully.
“Is it bad that I almost don’t want life to go back to normal?” I remember her asking me. I replied that I felt the same way.
It seems odd–to go through a year and a half of online learning, restricted social gatherings, and nationwide lockdowns and to still come out of it thinking “Hm…I’m not sure if I’m ready to be fully social again.”
I suppose I expected to be incredibly eager for life to return to normal. I expected to be itching to go out every night, to see people every day, and to never have to spend a moment alone.
And don’t get me wrong, part of me really is excited for the semi-normal school year that’s fast-approaching. We’ve been online for long enough. But another part of me, a slightly larger part, is anxious about it. We experienced month after month of isolation, and I think that eventually, many of us became comforted by it.
Now, I’m noticing that many of us believe there’s something wrong with this desire for isolation. We feel like the so-called “normal” response is to never want to be alone, to always have plans, and to resume the position of the extrovert.
However, I think there is a strength in solitude.
This past year and a half forced us to learn how to be alone. How to listen to our own thoughts and needs even when we didn’t necessarily want to. How to entertain ourselves with no one else around.
I think there is quiet grace in being an introvert, and though I may have considered myself an extrovert prior to the pandemic, I’m now proud to designate myself as the opposite. If you find yourself in a similar position, you should feel proud, too.
You learned how to accommodate your own wants and needs. Maybe you learned a new hobby, or a new recipe. Maybe you sparked an interest in something you never thought would catch your eye. You learned how to exist in your own space, without relying on external forces to feel peace.
Now, I’m not saying to isolate yourself forever and never go outside again. It’s also good to push ourselves to be social, and that’s something I’ve worked on over the summer. Nevertheless, it’s also okay to say “I don’t really want to be social tonight.”
There is nothing wrong with being alone. There is actually strength and peace which can be found in that loneliness. And if the pandemic caused you to revel in loneliness, you’re not alone in that.