Lately I’ve found myself thinking a lot about this concept of company.
As humans, we desire it. We seek it. We crave it.
At the heart of our learned-social nature is an intrinsic need to be in the presence of other people, or have people find themselves in the presence of us. It is only through company that we are able to continue to weave our webs of social connection. It is with company that we commune and that we share. It is when we are without company that we find words like isolated, secluded, and lonely in our vocabularies.
It would appear as though this concept of company has grown rather nebulous during the lifespan of my generation — technology and social media have rendered the concept of true loneliness near obsolete within well-developed regions. If we ever find ourselves in the state of being alone, we can seek community with an online social network or find ourselves in the presence of some disconnected face on a television show through a computer screen. We have created an entire toolkit of ways to handle the dilemma of being alone by developing ways to artificially be in the pixelated company of others, but we have seldom found ourselves striving for progress in learning how to enjoy the company of ourselves.
With this man-created movement to eradicate the abstract feelings of isolation and seclusion from our innate human language, we seem to have unintentionally erased another core concept: self-solicitude. The desire, care, and ability to spend time with ourselves, free of any longing for social stimulation from others. As I watch my phone battery drain during my two-hour-long commute to work each day, eyes glazed over at never-ending scrolls through the meticulously manufactured lives of others or the same troubling stories that develop an echo chamber of current events, I question my inability to find ways to enjoy time by myself — for myself.
The ability to enjoy your own company is likely a skill that is learned and not taught. It will probably take years to truly perfect and a lot of careful sifting through an eclectic mix of emotions such as loneliness, seclusion, and enjoyment, but I think that learning this ability to enjoy my own company will prove to be worthy.
Today, scrolling through social media, it appears that I should be finding myself at a 4th of July pool party with copious amounts of cheap alcohol and a large circle of acquaintances, taking pictures and videos so that I can validate that my social network knows that I’m participating in what seems to be right for my demographic. Instead, I find myself cooking a meal in the kitchen and polishing off my hardly-used 5-year old patio table to have dinner alone with a glass of wine and the sunset. As low guitar strums paint the environment around me, I find myself sorting out bits of loneliness to find enjoyment. It’s about time that I give my own company a chance.