By Richard Wagamese

I’ve never really been much of a guy’s guy, a man’s man or any of those buddy-buddy things a man is supposed to be. I learned to be a loner when I was a kid and the lesson never really left me. I always felt better and safer on my own

Plus, I was never drawn to most of the things a guy learns to do. I never learned how to tinker with an engine, never learned to use power tools, never really developed an appetite for the NFL or NASCAR. When I quit drinking beer, well, that was about all she wrote.

I found it hard being around men. I’m pensive. I give things a lot of thought. I consider my position on things. So it made it really hard to fall into banter, chat or good-old-boy small talk, or the little lies and tall tales we tell each other.

The funny thing about being a loner is that you always think that you’re the only one. Hence, the word loner, I suppose. But you never really think that there’s anyone else like you and so you never search out anybody who’s a loner too.

The truth is that there are a lot of us out there. Loners seldom advertise. Others might not be as cozy as I am in my solitude but there are still a lot of guys who value their privacy and the comfort of their own thoughts at their own time.

I like walking. I like being able to set out on the land and just be, with only the dog for company. A lot of guys are like that. I like to read, listen to music, do hard, sweat-inducing solitary chores like wood chopping. Hell, I even love watering the flowers.

All of those things you can do alone. There’s no one to miss, no one else’s thoughts to consider, no one else’s agenda to satisfy. Loners understand the sanctity of those moments – but the truth is that we’re not true loners. It’s just a label we learned to apply.

I cherish the moments I spend with my guy friends. I love the fact that I live with a beautiful woman and that we have a host of great and wonderful people in our life. I love that as much as I love the moments I am alone, happy with all of it.