If you were born and raised in a small town like me you will most likely be able to relate to how intimidating the thought of going out by yourself can be. I have always wondered why it is seemingly socially unacceptable to go out unaccompanied, especially in small towns, I feel like it should’t be, yet it is. Personally I have always enjoyed my own company still I have never gone to a restaurant by myself let alone a movie theater along with vastly every other social activity I can think of actually I suppose. (Of course there’ll always be some things that just work out better if you go with other people, like bowling) But if I enjoyed being by myself that much why had I never? I think, like it applies to most people, the fear being judged has abstained me; the fear of what other people might think when in reality the only person who can in fact judge you is yourself and quite frankly, from what I have experienced, most people are too preoccupied thinking about themselves to think about you anyway, honestly.
Being alone is fine and more often than not being alone does not equal being lonely.
I read somewhere once, something along the lines of “if you enjoy your own company you will never be alone” and although abstract it makes sense. Something else I have been reflecting upon is whether we are in fact ever really alone. Most people are surrounded by people most of the time. It is the fact that we are conditioned to understand that we are unaccompanied simply due to people around us being unfamiliar when in fact, we are just a greeting away from company and familiarity. Engaging in conversations with strangers is definitely one of the benefits of exploring places by yourself, something the majority of people won’t do when already accompanied by someone else, someone familiar. I have always felt like it is such a shame how we are conditioned to just do our own thing and not engage with strangers. I always make a point of connecting and helping the people around me, regardless of whether I know them or not and I have never experienced any reaction but delight. In addition, nowadays conversation is never further away than your pocket. (or wherever you may store your phone, I guess it is supposed to be really unhealthy to keep it in your pocket, I find it easier just to leave it in my hand)
All this is such a privilege – being able to converse and to connect with others. But so is being alone – not having to neither speak nor listen to anybody. Personally, for me it is such a treat to be able to not have to think about anything but myself. Sure, just like everything else, it is a learning progress, but how perfect is it not to be able to collect your thoughts and to do something you enjoy in, actually, great company. The more I think about it, the more I appreciate it. It is merely about perspective and attitude, just like everything else.
Clearly this perspective and attitude I have acquired only through initially doing something that was way beyond my comfort zone, which is one of the finest methods to growing and evolving I think, although terrifying at times.
For a while I felt like a rather lost and wandering soul. I felt incredibly lonely which appears rather irrational considering that I am constantly surrounded by beautiful people. I opened up to a close friend about it and what she told me was: “You need to start dating yourself”. At first I thought it sounded ridiculous, like what does dating yourself even look like? Is that even a thing? How do you date yourself? But as she continued to explain, it started to make sense and it resonated with me. I needed to take myself out on dates. Get to know myself. Do what I really wanted to do. No compromises.
Two days ago I took myself out on date for the first time. (I actually started writing this on the day of, but it has taken me a surprisingly long time to complete) I went to a little yoga café called BSKT in Mermaid Beach not too far from work right on the beach. I have been here a couple of times and I really like the atmosphere there but I also do really enjoy the breakfast. Going out to breakfast by myself I thought would not be easy as, but it actually turned out to be rather intimidating. Probably the unfamiliarity of it that made me uncomfortable at first. Several other people were actually already sitting by themsleves enjoying their breakfast alone. I ordered a coconutmilk infused chiapod with mango puree, passion fruit, berries and a side of coco whip & a superfood smoothie with cherry, raspberry, coldpressed almondmilk, maqui and lucuma. It wasn’t actually what I wanted but I ordered it anyway just to try it and I really enjoyed it. A secret of a happy life: Expect nothing, receive everything. (But also don’t be cynical) It was a lovely morning.
Yesterday I took myself out for breakfast again this time at a newly-opened coffee place close to work. I treated myself to a vegan “not”ella doughnut and a soy latte, both of which I haven’t had in ages. Indulging makes me feel wonderful and wonderfully balanced. (Despite the sugar- and caffeine rush (/crash) which actually made me feel terrible although still terribly wonderful) Yet another lovely morning. I enjoyed my breakfast and finished a book that has taken up most of my time for the past couple of weeks. I always feel so ambivalent whenever I finish a good book. Due to my finisher-nature I get a kick out of finishing things, like ticking things off a list, (yes that is right) so finishing a book makes me feel accomplished however I am still always struck by this sense of emptiness like “What now?” When something has taken up that much of my time and attention I almost don’t know what to do with myself when I am done. (The evident answer naturally being to buy new book).
This morning marks my third morning of breakfast dates with myself. I have fallen in love with it.
The unfamiliar is admittedly only unfamiliar until it is familiar.