Most people would be surprised to know how much time I spend alone. Not lonely. Just alone. With myself.

It's become a running joke between Gayle and me, ever since our infamous cross-country road trip in 2006, when I put on headphones to "be alone with my thoughts." Sometimes when she calls, she'll say, "Whatcha doin'? Being alone with your thoughts?"

Yes, I often am. I crave silence. It's how I balance out the volume that's necessary to run a network and a magazine and remain somewhat sociable.

What makes me me is being able to return to stillness. Like now: sitting and hearing nothing but the undercurrent hum of my house.

I could be this way for days—fully present. No TV. No radio. No iPod. Nothing to distract me from the words I'm writing on this page.

In my youth, I'd find it odd to be at a party surrounded by loud music and dancing and laughing, and suddenly think, I've had enough. I'd rather be home. I often said yes to events I didn't want to attend, because who would say no to the big-deal happening of the moment, whatever it might be?

I didn't want to "miss anything."

Now I know for sure: The only thing you shouldn't miss is what matters to you.

What I used to consider a quirk, I now fully accept as a part of being true to myself. And I hope you do the same.


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