UPDATE: This post originally ran on February 24th but we thought we’d share it again for some weekend inspiration :).
The idea of solitude has a somber ring to it; the thought of being alone can bring about memories touched with lonely sadness, while thoughts of being surrounded by others can bring memories of joy. But solitude, like all things, truly depends on the way you look at it.
I, for one, absolutely love being alone. Some of the best times I’ve had are ones where I’ve been in no one else’s company but my own. I always enjoy hanging out with myself at home, and I equally love going shopping alone. I find that I’m productive and relaxed… and I always make sure to remain just as silly as when I’m with others.
There are certain activities, though, that I would never dream of doing alone. Sure, some things are just more fun with others by my side, but maybe sometimes I want those people to be there partly because the idea of them not being there… scares me. I fear I won’t know what to do when I’m there by myself (wherever that “there” may be). I fear I’ll have a question and I’ll be forced to ask an unfamiliar face. I fear that others will see me and think, “What’s wrong with that girl? Why is she here by herself?”
But you know what? Please pardon my language, but those fears are complete and total bullshit. Truly. I won’t know what to do when I’m there by myself? I’m a pretty smart girl. I’m sure I can figure it out. I’ll have a question and I have to ask an unfamiliar face? Great! Where’s the problem there? Meeting new people is healthy thing to do. People are just people, just as you and I are. People will think there’s something wrong with me? They’ll question why I’m alone? Well, I mean, maybe one or two will wonder why I’m alone, but I have a feeling the conclusion they come to will have nothing to do with there being something wrong with me. And if it does… why should I care? I’ll never even know! Am I really worried about a thought that a person I don’t know… MIGHT have? Silliness. Pure silliness. Madness, even.
Yet I’m sure I’m not alone in these worries. If you’re with me, let’s do something about it. Together… yet separately. I challenge you to go somewhere alone. Somewhere you’ve never before dreamt of going alone. Go. Just go. Even if it’s for four and a half minutes. Do it. You might just find out you like it better that way.
Go for a drive. Grab your film camera and take yourself for a scenic drive, with no destination in sight. Roll down the windows, blast that song again and again, and truly experience the freedom you’ve been given. Stop often, or not at all. If something you see sparks your interest, pull over. Maybe it’s a retro-looking diner up ahead, or a field of flowers you spot in the distance. Go there, be there, and take it all in.
Hang out at a cafe. You know that cafe, the one with an atmosphere so cozy you could just live in it. Go there, sans computer. Bring a book or some watercolors , bring your headphones… or not. Sip slowly, taking in not just the beautiful flavor and aroma, but also the warm, calming energy around you. Allow yourself to sink into that perfectly worn-in cushion, and stay all afternoon.
Relax at the library. Choose the oldest looking fiction book you can find, and open it midway. Sit on the floor, crossed-legged, between two bookcases. Maybe even take your shoes off. Start reading and don’t stop. Make up the first half of the book in your mind. Pretend you’re one of the characters. Feel her emotions. Experience her experiences. Cry if you need to. Allow yourself to get lost in the world that exists on those pages before your eyes
Wander through a museum. It could be an old favorite, or one you’ve never before experienced. In either case, go with a fresh perspective. Seek to learn something new and to be inspired to think, make, or do in a brand new way. Don’t feel the need to visit every room or stay for a certain amount of time. Go to experience it as it comes, and when you come to a point where you feel fulfilled, head on home.
Treat yourself to a fancy meal. Get dressed up for a date with no one but yourself. Feel confident, and go. Order something you can’t pronounce. Save room for dessert. Take every bite as if it were your first. Learn your waiter’s name. When you say “thank you,” mean it. Feel gratitude for all of those who partook in making this meal possible, from the person who planted that tomato seed that became part of your salad, all the way to the one who delivered the chair on which you sit. Marvel at the incredible skills possessed by each of those people, and then marvel at all of your own.
Go to a show. Music is a powerful thing. Choose a band that you know will make you feel something. Go alone and ready to dance. Close your eyes, let the beautiful vibrations move you, internally and externally. Make a new friend, just for the night. Leave feeling refreshed and full of positivity.
Take an art class. Be it painting, pottery, improv, or anything else, put yourself in a situation that teaches you to harness your creativity in new ways. Use your hands, your eyes, your brain, and your soul. Let creative energy flow through you, and express it in ways you never thought possible. Let it in, let it out, and never think twice about it.
See a movie. Get a huge bucket of popcorn (or sneak in your own). Get there early. Find the best seat. Watch every preview. Look around from time to time, at this room filled with strangers who are all sharing a similar experience at once. Feel comfort in this sense of community, as you all laugh and cry together. Realize that, while you may be by yourself, you’re certainly not alone.
What will you venture off to do on your own?
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