How To be Solitary

Christopher McHale
2 min readOct 3, 2022

Why it’s important.

Give yourself the gift of alone.

The loneliness of the long-distance runner.

I run through cities.

Across parks, down lanes, along rivers, past government buildings, past people sitting on benches.

I run.

No music.

I want to feel my body.

I want to let my thoughts go.

You must unlearn the habit of being someone else or nothing at all, of imitating the voices of others and mistaking the faces of others for your own. Herman Hesse.

We are trained to be somebody else.

We are conditioned to hide our true selves.

In our culture of aspiration, we need. A car. A house. And we use those things to form an identity.

But the one thing we often lose along the way is who we really are.

I come to a steep flight of steps. When were they laid? They have elaborate railings, made by artisans who have gone from the world. Nobody has those skills anymore.

I run up the steps.

I focus on my breath.

I don’t pause when I reach the top of the steps. I run on. Into a park. Into a grove of trees. Along a wood chip path.

Nature brings us back to ourselves. Even here, in the urban world, the natural world is all around us. You just have to see it. You just have to watch.

The natural world moves to its own rhythm.

Connect to it.

I run until I am breathing with the trees.

Sitting on an empty shore. Spending a day alone. Carving out solitude. Maybe for an hour. Maybe for months.

This is how we renew ourselves. It’s critical. It’s fine tuning. It’s keeping gas in the tank. However you want to see it.

Give yourself the gift of alone.

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Christopher McHale

Writer | Composer | Producer | Human | Christopher writes about creativity, culture, technology, music, writing. www.christophermchale.com