Being alone doesn’t phase me. I spent nine months in a womb full of goo only to be shot out into a world of dependency. When I was younger I collected girlfriends like it was my job; selling ‘besties’ for a pencil on the playground. In my early twenties I collected boyfriends like it was my future; selling dignity for a date with our high school quarter back. I never saw solitude as an accomplishment…until today.
There is something so glorious about standing in a crowd, cell phone stowed away, staring at a bunch of strangers who are all paired up with people they may, or may not like. My plus-one expectations completely eliminated by the sheer disposal of needing anybody by my side. I have to go to the bathroom? Cool, nobody needs to wait for me. I want to switch up the plan? Perfect, haven’t ruined anybody’s day with my indecisiveness. The amount of hours gained in a day by only worrying about oneself are exponential, something I’m sure I’ll miss as I grow older and start a family.
Last year I drove across the United States, alone. When I would take breaks at trucker stops and sit down to collect my thoughts on paper, people would approach me and ask me if the Pennsylvania plates were mine. They wanted to know what I was doing so far away from ‘home’. Chasing storms in the mid west was scary enough, but being a woman on her own was far more terrifying to strangers. For the longest time I always believed that every story was better told by many mouths instead of one. I felt that in order to experience anything to it’s fullest I had to be in that experience with others. Since leaving a very liberating venture on the East Coast I have found more comfort and peace in loneliness than I’d ever found in companionship. Today I fill the void of another human with the love I have for myself.
I am so incredibly elated each time that I get to draft a day that is dedicated to self reflection. Poolside, beach bound, or at home on this laptop with my blog, I soak up every moment I have to myself, with myself. I know it may seem that I peruse the land for a future husband (and if not, check out my blog post: A Letter To The Literal Man Of My Dreams), but the truth of it is…it’s no skin off my back if it’s not today, tomorrow or the next. Because dating me is like that cupcake without icing; a bit incomplete but way less regret in the end. When I think about the weekend, I don’t think about all the dates I can line up with guys who probably won’t return my calls. I set up states to visit, ball games to go to and bars to sit at unaccompanied. I’m all the company I need.
Society tells us that being ‘without’ makes you less than. I tell myself, who I am, is all I need. When I’m alone I experience mindfulness far beyond any coffee shop chat with a friend, or potential partner. I clear out my clutter and I count minutes of happiness instead of seconds of anxiety. Alone doesn’t mean strange, it means independence and with that freedom comes possibility. I’ve never felt more able to live, love and learn than I do in these moments I spend forgetting about social norms and operating selfishly.
Over time, every single person you know and love will let you down in some way. That’s life. All you have is, you. Embracing this instead of letting solitude define you is the fastest way to grow. I know this, because I just lived it. I would cry when my weekend would come to an uneventful close and curse the names of those who bailed on me for the 8th time. I spent more time and energy on hating others instead of loving myself. What a silly waste of moments, moments where I could have been standing on the edge of a hiking trail overlooking the pacific ocean and remembering the good times instead of dwelling on the bad.
Once in your life, before you die, fall madly in love with yourself. Do it for nothing else but the moment between need and have where you give potential to a prosperous existence. Love being alone before you crave it so deeply that it’s availability escapes you. Distance yourself from the voices of the world, and listen to your own.