Alone time is good for contemplation, reflection

Columnist and Columnist

One of the worst feelings I’ve experienced in life is a lonely, boring summer.

Unfortunately, I’ve experienced many lonesome summers between school years. Throughout middle school and high school, I grew up without friends nearby to spend quality time with. So, I wasted away many quiet days in boredom and unhappiness as the hot summer heat baked my neighborhood.

However, a few activities helped me get through those long three months. Now, I want to share those activities for returning students without a summer job or friends at home.

Riding my bike over the summer became my most therapeutic activity. I especially rode a lot during the summer of 2010 (before my freshman year). Today, I miss those rides because I have not addressed my popped back tire.

Beginning from my house and through the four-way stops of my hometown village, I would ride past our park and onto the bike path.

Usually during late afternoons, I would ride west past the high school to about three miles outside of town. I enjoyed seeing the surrounding trees and hills along this pathway.

Other times, I would ride about two miles to the east. Along this end of the trail, I would enjoy seeing more of the foothills and surrounding trees and farmlands.

I also came to my favorite spot. There, a small wooden bridge crosses the side of a small cliff at the confluence of a small creek with the larger North Fork Paint Creek.

Here, I enjoyed hearing birds and other wildlife in the woods. I could also hear the running water of the creeks.

Then, I would often chuck a few small rocks that lay on the edge of the cliff near the bridge. I would often see if my tossed rocks could reach the opposite bank of the creek. On this bank a small clearing of farmland lies with hills in the backdrop.

Ironically, I also liked the solitude of my favorite spot on the bike path. I utilized this time with myself to reflect on events in my life and to collect my thoughts and feelings.

Another way I found time to collect my thoughts was during time spent mowing the lawn.

Lawn mowing (once a taxing chore) became an enjoyable activity for me. With the motor running clamorously, I could hum a favorite tune or focus on my feelings again in solitude.

Spending time with God by reading the Word was another peaceful activity, especially during my junior and senior years of high school. Seriously desiring knowledge and relationship with God outside of church at the time, I cracked the book open and read.

During these summer nights, I discovered a few Biblical truths that I had always heard from people.

At the village park, which I quickly glossed over earlier, I also spent personal reflection time. Sitting still on a swing or at a picnic table under the large gazebo, I spent time thinking about my life.

I thought about the positives and negatives; the happiness and the hurt; the past and the future; all while sitting still at the park.

Once more, I reflected in solitude. Virtually vacant 99 percent of the time, no person was around to possibly disrupt my time alone.

As I write these words, I begin to realize that I found some peace in my times without friends. It is my hope that perhaps you will find the same peace if you will face similar loneliness this summer.

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