Have you ever heard of the words ‘Honbob’ or ‘Honbobjok’? These words describe people who have meals alone. In the heartless reality that created these words, we can easily see people who eat meals alone. Furthermore, we can often see people who search for others to eat with through the social media of universities. Many people spend time alone, but many people are also afraid of their time alone and don’t know how to spend it well. I'd like to introduce them to a book, The power of time alone. The author, Saito Takashi recommends a method of enjoying self-time, and speaks honestly of the trials and errors that he experienced. Sit down with the book when you're alone.
1. Opportunity comes the moment you're alone.
In the first part of the book, the author explains about his time spent alone from age 18 when he was preparing for his college entrance test, until the age of 32 when he got his first job. He realized that people grow when they are alone.
2. The reason to be alone
He said that when you are learning or studying, you have to be alone because people around you may not be a good influence. In other words, sometimes we need to appreciate aloneness rather than think of it as a good or bad use of time. Takashi goes on to discuss and explain groups and singleness in terms of bid price. The group that is harmonized adequately doesn’t feel out of place with each other so they are relieved to say, "I am satisfied with myself", and they breathe easily because they got the bid price down by saying “I’m good” and “I’m fine” to each other. However, singleness places a very high bid price on our expectations of our selves. So we may feel burdened by these higher expectations and think we have to develop our strength to fulfill those expectations.” Practically speaking about the author’s experience, when he was a college student, he also lived separately from his friends in order to reach his goal, even though he attended the same college at the same time as his old friend.
Next, he says that we don’t have to make an effort to get along with everyone. Of course, he doesn’t means that we should live completely isolated lives, but rather we should stop trembling and struggling to get along well together. If we are hungry, It’s OK if we eat a meal by ourselves, and if we are in trouble or very sick, nobody wants to substitute having a friends help. The dream and goal are also the same things. These are things that are possible only by your efforts, not others’. Therefore, if you want to realize your dream or goal, you have to use your self-time effectively although getting along with others is also important.
3. Self-time, find the way to overcome your loneliness.
Time for yourself is important for looking back and improving ourselves, but we can’t avoid loneliness. So the author recommends some methods for overcoming loneliness. First, pay attention only to the things at hand. Second, read or translate original editions. Third, immerse yourself in reading and through trial and error, find the method that matches you. Here, many people wonder about the second step. Why the original edition? The author says that if you translate the original publication irrespective of its edition, you can understand the mind of the author and the main character. Also, he explains that reading helps if you read a book written in a native language, but you can’t pay attention to any book while listening to music, so reading the original edition is a good method to focus on something.
In this way, if you find and enjoy the joy of life, you will begin to think that loneliness can be good and you will make better use of your self-time for yourself. Takashi finishes by saying that if we love ourselves and are really happy, people surrounding us will also be happy.
A survey that was aimed at college students and office workers from age 20 to 30 showed that nine out of ten have experienced eating meals alone. But only half the people who experienced it enjoyed this kind of life style and others were obliged to do it. The main reason they did not enjoy self-time while eating alone was that they felt uncomfortable. But I think if we are not afraid of the self-time and concentrate more on self-development as the author Saito Takashi says, we will not be afraid of other people’s eyes. We may even change people’s perceptions about eating meals alone. As a fellow student reading this book, I hope that they will spend your self-time not being lonely, but enjoying yourself. < Copyright © The Gachon Herald All rights reserved >