What an Orangutan taught Me…..



They are mesmerizing. We share 97% of our DNA and have the same amount of teeth. They are all vegetarians, and they seem to do just fine without eating meat. They can just gaze for hours. They are curious. They live to the ripe old age of about 40 or so…but what I did not realize is that these adorable red creatures are very solitary. Although the mothers stay with their young carrying them for up to 4 or 5 years, they are then mostly alone. And they like it that way. Yes, they do hook up for the occasional romp every now and again, then they are back to swingin in the trees with their own company.
In a society where we feel as if something is wrong if we find ourselves alone for a night, or without a mate, or without people surrounding us……I realized, this animal actually prefers it.
Being an extrovert, it is not easy to be alone, but if one can not live an entire day alone and enjoy yourself, how can you be any fun for someone else? Have we forced ourselves to believe that things are always better when you are with someone? Actually one of the reasons they choose to be alone is that they require so much food each day that to share would decrease their chance of survival. I totally relate, I can’t stand when someone wants to share my popcorn. The bumping of hands in the big bucket of popped goodness is just awkward. I eat slowly and by the time I reach in for my 3rd handful the bucket is empty. Yes it will cost an extra 2 dollars for my own but then I can go at my own pace and don’t have to worry about popcorn starvation at the point in the movie where I need to chomp on something.
I digress. The point is that these are solitary creatures and I think I could learn more about enjoying the “being alone” thing.
So, today I didn’t go anywhere. I stayed on my patio swing and watched the humming birds for a while. I turned on my favorite French Cafe music. I put my phone down. I refused to check facebook, twitter, instagram, or any other social media site that makes us feel connected for a second,(ok ok I did go on Facebook to post this) but today I just sat here with me. I decided to have a banana just to really relate. And you know what? It felt great. And it felt uncomfortable. In a society where we feel we need to accomplish and if we don’t have company we should be “doing something”
I remembered we are human BEINGS not human doings and maybe the exact thing you should be doing is being.
Spend a day being with your being. When can you carve out some alone time? Maybe all you need to do just drop all judgements about being alone. Bet you an orangutan doesn’t judge his being alone so much. Bet the female doesn’t even care if he texts back or calls after their romp.
Maybe take an hour and just gaze like an orangutan would do. Have some fruit and veggies, cook a new dish you never made before, feel the sun on your face, take yourself to a movie, write a letter, make a dreamboard, create a list of things you love, places you want to travel, basically just monkey around with yourself and see where it takes you. I bet like an orangutan, you might decide swinging alone isn’t bananas after all.


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  • Thanks for sharing this with the rest of the world Rachel! I wasn’t aware of the solitary life that the orangutan lives.

  • Found your blog imformative. I am alone 90 % of the time. I would like to be more involved but its not possible. I am confortable with my solitary life but would like a mate. I do have a visitor my friend moocher. A racoon.

  • Thanks for letting me know ! I think you should name the Racoon :). He/She might just be your perfect mate. I feel the same way you do by the way !!! Stay tuned I am changing this site so it’s easier to comment and so it lets me know when someone does!!! Come back! It’s starting up again this week !!!!

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