My library hold on Cal Newport’s newest, Digital Minimalism, finally delivered the book to my phone. I’ve finished all the paper books I brought with me, and as I deleted all my social apps yesterday, it’s perfect timing.
My suspicion was that there wouldn’t be much in this book I didn’t already know and believe. Like most modern non-fiction writers, he has his niche, and he mines it well. But to my surprise, he isn’t only trying to convince you to put down your phone. He’s also making the case for solitude.
I have always been a solitary person. Our first house was on a block with no other children. I was very good at playing by myself (and later directing my younger brothers). If I couldn’t find a friend to go to a concert, I went by myself. For years, a solo movie was my birthday treat. I chose a single dorm; I live in a one bedroom apartment. I enjoy my own company.
Of course I feel lonely sometimes. Of course I need friends. But I know a lot of people who aren’t OK with being by themselves—I know this because they speak incredulously when I tell them, yes, I went alone.
I went across Canada on the bus alone. I moved to Halifax alone. If I had waited for someone to go with me, I never would’ve done it.