Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Toastmasters Speech No. 2: "Thoughts on Being Alone"

By Christopher Siena, TM


That was the reaction of my friends when they knew that I went alone to the beach to celebrate my 21st birthday. Their expressions in their faces were as if I have confessed a murder.

I was not at all surprised by their reaction. Society looks at people who spend alone in the beach with awkward glances. I could even recall a sly remark from my cousin who asked my why I don’t have company. I told him that I didn’t plan to spend it with them and that I prefer to be alone this day of the year.

But, fellow toastmasters and guests don’t get me wrong. I have no intention of spending my whole life alone like a hermit. Nor am I too proud to admit that I need human company… because I do. What kept me wondering is why people surround themselves with other people as if they were oxygen. Is it because most people are afraid to be perceived as lonely and thus miserable even though it is not always the case? But if it is, would it make any difference?
Misery is misery whether we are alone or with someone by our side. We feel miserable and alone when a loved one dies even if the wake is jam-packed with concerned individuals. So why not look at solitude as a gift rather than a curse? Why don’t we enjoy the moments we spend alone?

Being alone makes us look inside ourselves. It makes us assess our lives and makes us ask questions to ourselves. Let me illustrate my point. We listen to the radio. We listen to our Ipods. But when was the last time we listened to ourselves? When was the last time we heard our inner voice speaking to us – telling us what we really want, what we really desire? Do we desire the products that we hear in the radio? Do really understand the meaning of the love songs we hear in our Ipods? In these questions and private conversations, we get to know ourselves more.

Lastly, being alone means we control our time. Imagine a vacation where you don’t have to follow a schedule. You don’t have to wait for others to finish so that you can move on. You eat when you want. You swim when you want. You sleep when you want. No one will say that you’re a “kill-joy.” Simply said you don’t have to strike a compromise with someone else except yourself.

So try it! Have a vacation alone - away from the hustle and bustle of social life. Dodge those awkward glances. Relax and have a good time with yourself. Listen to the silence of yourself talking.

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