In 2018, when I broke up with my ex, I entered one of the most depressing times in my life. During this time, I felt no joy. All my daily routines felt like an illusion. It felt like I was a zombie living meaningless activities. Of course, I showed emotions and laughed from time to time, but it never came from my heart. At some point, my life felt like prison time. Same shit, but just different days. Once I was aware that I am in “prison”. I did not decide to leave it. Instead, I wanted to remain inside until I am ready for something new or better. If you ever came into a similar situation, you have to decide between the two ways to live in solitude.
The two ways to live with solitude- Alive or Dead-time?
According to Robert Green – there are two types of time in our lives. Dead-time, when people are passive and waiting for better days to come. And alive time, when people are learning, acting and utilizing every second. Every moment of failure, every moment or situation that we did not deliberately choose or control presents this choice: Alive time. Dead-time.
Two ways to live with solitude – dead-time
Dead-time is the worst option to choose from if you have free time to think. And it is to do nothing, be passive, and hope for better days. There are many of my friends who live this way. And it is always about relationships (I’m sorry to bad-mouth relationships again…). But many of my friends who instead should take the prison time to self-reflect and choose the alive time, choose to do nothing or to do worse. Instead of taking a break from all the emotional chaos, they decide to continue their way of living. Being stuck in the circle of repeating mistakes all over again. Of course, there are cases where some are lucky. Therefore, even when they choose dead time over alive time, they can have a good career or a good relationship. However, the chance is low.
Looking back at my life, I chose dead time every time whenever I was in solitude. After quitting my first studies and returning back to Berlin, I had a lot of time to think about my next steps. Instead of reflecting on the reasons for quitting and improving myself, I made the same mistake. Just 6 months later, I enrolled in another study, even though I knew I hated studying. Two years later, I quit that as well. Because I did turn the solitude time into alive time, I wasted another 2.5 years of my life. Instead, I chose dead-time, a time where I did nothing.
Which one is which?
At some point in your life, you might feel that your life is a “prison”, too. In other words, where you have solitude time to think, to think a lot. I experienced it two times in life. Once in 2013, when I was back in Berlin where I have nothing to do. And today, when I work on my goals, I have a lot of spare time to think about myself. In these solitudes, when I was either bored or heartbroken, I thought about what I could do with my life.
Alive time disguised as dead-time
My first prison time was back in 2013when I quit university and just worked. Within the 6 months, while I work a braindead job, I thought about what I should do next. The only answer I could have come up was with new ways to study again. But this time, I would make it to the end, that is what I promised myself. And in the best case, I would do my Ph.D. So, during my time there, I prepared myself to make everything possible. I received an invitation letter from a university. At that time, I was overly happy. However, years later, it turns out that my solitude time in 2013 is actually dead time.
I did nothing to improve myself, getting accepted into the university was a step but not a huge accomplishment. Because years later I quit again. The time when I worked at Burger King was wasted. Deadtime.
Alive time rescued me – how to live with solitude
My new life did not begin immediately after the breakup. Before I change my focus and my priority and became who I am today, I also had to go through solitude time. ‘So, what should I do?’, I asked myself back then. This question popped up after I realized that I did not achieve anything mentionable in life. Of course, my society is great and I am a decent human being. But it was not enough. The breakup made me realize that beautiful things in life must be earned. So, instead of looking for a distraction or any kind of drugs to numb me, I used this solitude and turned it into alive time.
It began when I overthought my life again. Filled my head with non-sense and many what-if scenarios. One night I chose to work instead of overthinking. I translate the whole menu of my mother’s restaurant from German to English. It took me 3 hours. After finishing it, I felt a stream of joy and fulfillment running through my body.
Alive time makes my new life possible
And this was the birth of my ongoing new lifestyle. I did not seek success and money anymore. I just want to feel alive. And this feeling I mentioned is what I seek for my entire life. After 3 years, I finally became a different person. My blog runs smoothly, my web app is almost finished, my freelance work as a web developer brings home a lot of money, and soon I will open a small business as well. All thanks to my decision 3 years ago. It is great to see how far I went. And a small secret, I never have been out of the solitude time. I am still in it. Of course, voluntarily. I love this way of life.
So, between which two ways you will choose to live in your solitude?
Summary – The two ways to live with solitude
We decide what kind of time we spent in solitude. Because alive time and dead time depend on how we define them. But in general, alive time means, to spend your free time improving yourself. Dead-time means waiting for opportunities or doing worse. But be cautious, only years after your decision, the solitude time will reveal itself as either dead-time or alive time.
Moreover, solitude time is crucial because it decides which way you go on from there. Will it be the same old life with the same old mistakes? Or do you choose a great, new life beyond the comfort zone? Take this advice to your heart and spent your free time wisely. In particular, in this fast world.