What I’m learning from doing things alone

Over the last month or so I’ve been noticing that I’ve been doing a lot of stuff on my own. I never set out on in my mind like “hey, I think this would be better if I went solo” it just…happened. I think I got tired of feeling constrained by friend’s and family’s schedules and moods. I’ve gone to the movies, eaten at a restaurant, and clothes shopped on my own before and I know that lots of other people have too. But recently I’ve done a couple things by myself that have surprised people who have known me the longest. Before I start my tale of hanging out with Me, Myself & I, I should probably let you know that I’m not the most outgoing person. I’m friendly, smart, and pretty quick witted but I know that my personality isn’t one that can just walk into a room and make a hundred friends by the end of the night. I don’t view it as a shortfall of mine, it’s just not the way am.

Last week I went to a happy hour mixer organized through a group I joined on Meetup.com. It was at Terrace 390 in downtown and I didn’t know a single person there, let alone where the place was even located. I was excited but nervous to say the least. On one hand, I was excited to meet other people and expand my social circle but on the hand I was nervous because I was meeting new people and didn’t want to feel awkward. The night was a little bit of a let down (most of the people I met weren’t even in my group) but I still met friendly people, had some interesting conversations, and thoroughly enjoyed my happy hour cocktails. I left that night feeling a little more confident because I accomplished what I set out to do – step out of my comfort zone. I also walked away more confident because I got to know myself better through the experience.

Another new thing I’ve done on my own recently was go to the beach. I didn’t expect to go to the beach yesterday by myself and almost convinced myself to accompany my friend to his frat’s pool party. But the more I thought about doing what he wanted to do rather than what I wanted to do got me feeling pissed just thinking about going to a crowded pool, eating generic tasting hot dogs and burgers, and listening to obnoxious party music. I changed my thinking and went about my whole beach trip as a few hours of “me time” and stress relief. I packed my big bottle of water, some snacks, my music, picked up a Cosmo and a Mike’s Hard Lemonade and made my happy way to the beach. I blasted some tunes for the car ride and when I got to Honeymoon Island I found a nice spot near the water. After spending a couple of relaxing hours at the beach swimming, laying out, listening to music, reading my mag, and people watching while taking a walk, I was so glad that I decided to go to the beach rather than the pool party, even if it was by myself.

A couple years ago, I had a friend in college that was totally taken aback when I told her that I’ve gone to most of our school’s various gym classes by myself. I remember her saying, “You really go by yourself? I could never do that!” I think people have a negative connotation when it comes to doing things by yourself. They take it as a sign of loneliness or that people will judge them as losers. Both of which are total crap. I’m doing stuff by myself not because I’m a loser (well, I don’t consider myself a loser but that’s probably subjective) or I’m lonely. I’m going solo these days because I want to enjoy my life and experience new things without depending on somebody else. Don’t get me wrong, I love having a partner in crime or meeting up with a group of friends but there really are moments I just want to unplug from technology and not talk to anybody. Selfish? Maybe, but I don’t think so. Does anybody else like doing things on their own or am I in the minority here?

 

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