Since leaving college last year, I’ve taken a huge trip by myself, am living alone, and working from home. So it’s safe to say I have a lot of practice being alone. I live by myself, across the country from my parents, in a different country than my boyfriend and work so much it only makes sense to make plans on weekends with friends. Which means sometimes I go a whole day or a few days without interacting with anybody other than my skype meetings for work. Sometimes I go out to eat alone, sometimes I go to movies alone, and I most definitely go to the beach alone.
People are surprised when I tell them how much I do by myself. I feel like, for some reason, many people are embarrassed or uncomfortable to do things in public by themselves. But just because you do things alone doesn’t mean you’re lonely or a failure, there are actually tons of perks to doing things all by yourself.
First of all, you’re not limited — by anything! You’re not limited by which one of your friends is free, or what they want to do, or when they are available. If you want to see that indie flick, you don’t have to try and find a friend who is into it. If you want to try that new sushi restaurant you don’t have to deal with your boyfriend who is only ever feeling a burger. If you are interested in something, you can just go do it! You have that power!
I get that a huge part of the fun of experiencing things is sharing it with others and the laughter and discussion that goes along with that. But for me, I need both. I need those times with friends, family, and boyfriend. AND I need that alone time. And there’s nothing wrong with that. For me, going places and doing things alone allows me a level of efficiency and depth that I wouldn’t otherwise get.
For example, if I go shopping with friends, it can be fun, but it takes about twice as long to find all the things I’m looking for. If I’m alone, I’m in and out, and have so much more time. If I see a movie with friends, I know that they probably like to talk, but I prefer silence. This isn’t to say that I prefer being alone to doing things with the people that mean a lot to me. This is just to show that there is absolutely nothing wrong with it. Maybe you’re not in the mood to be around people but still want to do exciting activities, and you should feel comfortable having it both ways.
We think that if people see us spending time out alone they will judge us from afar, but how many times have you ever done that? You don’t stare at that guy at Starbucks who is at a table by himself, and you don’t feel sorry for someone if they are sitting by themselves at the movies. You barely even notice anyone but yourself anyways. Humans are self-absorbed, and in this case it is liberating!
Maybe we are all scarred from that one time we felt so embarrassed to sit alone at lunch in middle school (we all know those days were not fun for ANY of us). But now, life moves so fast, you can’t always wait for someone to catch up and live it with you, and nobody else has time to judge you for eating lunch alone anymore. Why limit yourself to what the everyone else wants to do when the power to do whatever you want, whenever you want, is sitting right in front of you?