Why do I usually like to be alone

Inner peace: why we need to learn to love being alone

Even the sheep were too lonely out here in the end. The last two kept running across the meadows behind the property into the village. There were other sheep there. For a while Roman Streisand brought them back in the evening, but this year he sold them. A fox killed the geese.

The dog is still there, snoring in the shade under the table on which Streisand has placed thin clay bowls with tea. Streisand looks towards the meadows. In front of him lie fruit trees, the shelter abandoned by the sheep, green land. Otherwise he doesn't see much from this place. No streets, no neighboring houses, above all: no neighbors.

This is exactly what Roman Streisand wanted when he left Berlin 33 years ago to begin a hermit life in Brandenburg. There are still four plots of land next to his on the site of the old estate in the Schorfheide, but luckily he has little to do with the residents. When the starlings gather in the cherries in early summer, hundreds of noisy animals, Streisand fetches the air rifle that is leaning against the door to the garden and slams into the trees.

Not because of the noise, he says and laughs. Because of the cherries.

People who, like Streisand, claim that they like to be alone, that they really need to be alone, are believed to have a lot. It starts with the assumption that they are just claiming that. Isn't man a herd animal, a social being that can only be happy in a community? Isn't loneliness a dire plague for the present?

Loneliness can increase blood pressure

16 million people live in Germany alone. Most of the time, this phrase is pronounced in a concerned tone. One imagines people sitting in dark apartments, careworn. Every third German between the ages of 40 and 85 sometimes feels lonely. The number comes from the "German Age Survey" from 2013. Three to seven percent of people suffered from a high level of loneliness.

Loneliness is not only uncomfortable but also dangerous. It can increase blood pressure, disrupt sleep and the immune system, and ultimately shorten life. Doctors consider loneliness to be just as dangerous to health as being overweight.

But being alone is a condition that everyone should face. Sooner or later it can happen to anyone. Families are small, relationships don't last long, people move to a new city for a new job. Many people get very old, but unfortunately not all. Partners or friends die. You are alone, at least for a while.

Being alone is a plague of the present, if you will - but how badly it gets you is up to you.