Note: I'm planning to write a book on people who choose to spend most of their time by themselves. If you might like to be profiled in the book, would you email me at email@example.com? Thanks.
Most people wouldn’t dream of becoming a recluse. After all, we’re said to be social animals, not to mention sexual ones. And there are more specific reasons:
For such benefits, many people are willing even to accept marriage’s serious constraints. For example, if you’re one of the 50 percent that divorce, you may suffer years of dissolution war ending with your being forced to give lots of money, for years, to the one you now hate.
Indeed, for most people, the desire to connect with a romantic partner, friends, and family is foundational.
Yet the freedoms afforded by the solitary lifestyle are many and under-considered, hence this article. Reclusiveness’s advantages span from morning to night:
You needn’t, while half-asleep, make spouse’s or kiddies’ breakfast or fight with them to get dressed and ready for school. You can leisurely make your coffee and breakfast, enjoy it over the morning news or music, or merely in peace and quiet.
Because you’re self-employed, you don’t have to spend the time every day to get dressed up in expensive work get-ups. There’s no gridlocked commute, no misguided boss, no backstabbing coworkers, no convoluted processes or unworthy products, no interminable meetings resulting in CYA tepid plans. You’re the CEO of whatever business or non-profit you want.
Sure, if you’re one of the many people that need the structure and support of an organization to keep you productive, fine. Get a job. But the freedoms of being your own boss are nonpareil. And as long as you keep your expenses down and your business simple, you may well be able to avoid being among half of people whose businesses go out of business within the first few years.
Need help? Hire someone part-time, temp to handle the stuff you can’t or don’t want to do. That exception to your reclusiveness may well be worth it…or not. I used to have a housecleaner. She did a fine job except that she expected to chat with me for 15 minutes as soon as she came over. I decided I’d clean my own house: Not only would I save that time and the money, I’d clean my house in drips and drabs, inserting needed activity into my sedentary lifestyle.
Speaking of breaks, work for yourself and you can usually take breaks whenever you want. Feel like taking a long hike with the dog in the middle of the day? No problem. You can make up the work in the evening or whenever.
Actually, a case can be made that spending little time with friends and family is generous. It is generous if you instead spend the time on things that would more help humankind. For example, does it do more good to listen to your troubled cousin whine yet again than to sell worthy products or services, whether for- or nonprofit? To write an article or create a YouTube video that would help people?
In the most extreme example of reclusivity as generous, philosopher and ethicist Michael Scriven argues it's the height of ethics for a person, when, in the last, expensive stages of illness, which demand great time and emotional pain from family and great resources from the medical system, that s/he does the ultimate solo act: commit suicide.
Again, these arguments not withstanding, most people will still opt for the benefits of more human connectedness. But while we increasingly accept many non-traditional forms of existence--LGBT relationships, group households, as well as, of course, cohabitation without marriage--the recluse option may be among the most under-considered.
More recently, I've made a short video on the case for mainly living and working alone. HERE is the link.