I’ve always valued the time on my own, isolated from the world, without having to deal with anyone or anything. The downside is I’m quick to fall into isolation. I think isolation can help one gain a stronger sense of self and recommend everyone spend some time on their own at some point in their life but I also believe human interaction is important for physical and mental health.
Unemployment, wintry weather, and limited friends in the area make it very easy to go for days without leaving my house and I feel like I’m slowly turning into an urban hermit. As I sat down to write about becoming a hermit I decided I was an urban hermit, which a quick Google search revealed is not my own amazingly unique made up on the spur of the moment term. It makes sense that modern-day hermits might not always be the stereotypical hermit seen in movies, apartments and houses replace caves and cabins, and isolated settings are replaced with cities and towns.
Technology really lends itself to allowing someone to become a hermit, grocery store deliveries, working from home, chat rooms, email, etc. People can easily live without ever having to leave their homes and interact with people without face-to-face conversation or even phone conversations. It would seem as the world becomes more populated we become more isolated allowing ourselves to become so absorbed in our own world that we fail to interact with the people around us.
After 2 days in my apartment I visited a friend then decided to stroll around downtown rather than rushing back to my cave (apartment). I found myself in a delightful antique store spending almost an hour browsing through the treasures and having a great conversation with the owner. I even took myself out to breakfast and it might be a subject for another post but I will say eating alone at a restaurant was not as scary as I thought it would be when I first sat down. Overall, it was a nice day.
I genuinely worry becoming a hermit will not be good for my physical or mental health and I’m concerned about losing my ability to interact with people. I recognize this is probably at the extreme end of the list entitled “the downsides to becoming a hermit” but I’m not taking any chances. Getting out into the world after a few days hiding out in my apartment reminded me that being a hermit is not for me and I am going to make a conscious effort to get out into the world. I’m a list person so I keep a to-do list for almost every week, so I’m integrating items into that list that will get me out of the house at least 5 days a week and hopefully prevent me from becoming an urban hermit.