What a lovely surprise to finally discover how unlonely being alone can be. - Ellen Burstyn
Most articles I’ve found about being alone highlighted fun solo activities for when you can’t find a companion to join — this isn’t one of those articles. Some experience loneliness while others celebrate the solitude; regardless, finding yourself while alone is a beautiful experience.
I’m a fairly sociable person; I enjoy spending time with friends, laughing and meeting new people, but I also cherish experiences when I know I have no one to lean on beyond myself. Being alone can be tricky, whether it’s a fear of being judged while going dancing sans partner or the simple fact that, as humans, we crave companionship. Either way, it’s not an easy feat to spend copious amounts of time alone.
Try some of the solo adventures listed below and watch your perspective change.
Go to the movies alone.
There’s nothing quite as relaxing as enjoying a movie you really want to see without worrying about the seat next to you. You get to eat whatever snacks you want without anyone attempting to sample some of your treats. Also, you can laugh as loudly as you want without the pressure to glance around to make sure your partner is also giggling.
Go shopping alone.
I absolutely detest shopping with other humans. They take too long in the dressing room and become impatient while you’re perusing. Shopping alone allows you to spend as much time trying on lycra bodysuits as your heart desires.
Disclaimer: Since no one is there to tell you if an outfit is horribly unflattering, so you may find out the hard way.
Go to dinner alone.
Even when I do eat alone, I tend to use books, my notebook or my phone as a crutch, which kind of defeats the purpose because you’re not totally alone. It’s nice to post up in a restaurant in a busy section of town during busy eating times and people watch.
Couldn’t get anyone to make dinner at the Ronald McDonald house with you? Go anyway. Doing things for others, especially when no one is watching is good for the soul.
While this can feel scary, if you’re comfortable enough in nature unaided — go for it! I’ve had some truly life-changing moments alone among the cacophony of rustles, whirs and whispers of the natural world. There’s something humanizing about being alone in your natural habitat; life seems to start moving around you upon slowing down to appreciate its simple beauties. The flutter of a hummingbird or the way the leaves of an Aspen tree dance shamelessly in the wind suddenly hold more importance than any urgent emails or relationship drama.
Go to a show alone.
It’s liberating to break out your bedroom dance moves without fear of embarrassing yourself in front of others. You have no date to impress, no throng of friends with whom to sing along and no one to peel you off the dance floor if you’ve had too many drinks. You’re completely in charge of your night. Go ahead and toss glow sticks into the air like some little EDM fairy — no one’s there to stop you.
This one may seem daunting, but really, it’s as easy as learning to be happy wherever you are. I learned a lot about myself in terms of strength, intelligence and love while traveling alone. There’s really nothing more liberating than waking up in a dirty hostel, walking into a city you’ve never been, in a country you’ve never seen and meandering through the streets. Drink it all in — resist the urge to use technology and allow mental portraits to suffice. There’s a tattered sign hanging on a shop in Pai, Thailand that reads: "You can’t get lost if you don’t care where you are! But you can be often found on the trek to getting lost."
Doing things alone allows you to realize that while relationships are important, loving oneself must be at the foundation of any connection. So many people want someone to love, but if you enjoy whom you are enough to walk alone, you will see the value in not being followed. I don’t want someone to follow me to the end of the earth; I want someone who is secure enough to walk beside me.
Relish in the beauty of life and don’t ever miss out on something because you tricked yourself into believing you couldn’t do it alone.
Photo via We Heart It