I’ve seen a lot. I’ve been to the depths of depression and back up to the height of happiness within one year. I’ve lost a friend, broken up with a boyfriend, fought with a best friend, and moved three times in the past two years; one of those moves was to a new country. I can’t say I’ve seen it all, but I’ve seen a lot.
At the end of the day every day, I realize I am alone. True, many people are not alone at the end of the day; they go to bed with their boyfriend, fiancé, or husband, but even they are alone.
It was just over these past couple of months that I realized there is a big difference between being alone and being lonely. The best advice I’ve even gotten was to be there for myself. When I was going through a hard time, a good friend told me that she could come over and comfort me as much as I wanted her to, but it was in my best interest to learn to be with myself and still feel comforted. What is it that is so scary about being alone?
As an experiment, I decided to go out and get some ice cream, then sit for a good few hours with no book, no iPod, no newspaper or magazine to keep me looking busy. I felt uncomfortable at first. I wanted to leave. I looked around the busy town square hoping no one was watching and pitying me. Then I noticed a group of teenagers in front of me. There were two boys, and countless girls all laughing and having fun. I noticed one of the boys had a blonde-haired girl attached to his hip. He kissed her neck and squeezed her waist and teased her while she giggled and squirmed. Then she started chasing after a friend, and another girl took her place under this boy’s arm. Ok … that was a little strange. They both seemed to be intimate with this boy. Then this girl joined in the fun and games and another girl started joking around and flirting with the boy. What?? Wait …What?! This was interesting. I have to admit, I spent a long time watching them, and I’m sure they noticed. I watched how this confused teenage boy switched around the girls on his lap, and at one point hugged two at a time. It came to a point where I had been sitting there for almost two hours, and didn’t even bother to feel uncomfortable anymore. By this point, I was just so happy I wasn’t like one of those girls, that I was perfectly content with being by myself.
Now I know this sounds like a strange way to come to life conclusion, but it worked for me. No, this was not the reason that I developed this theory, but it was certainly a springboard. I don’t know why this sight struck me as particularly awakening, but when I think of being alone, instead of a poor, hungry, shivering image that used to come to mind, now what comes to mind is:
Enjoying an ice cream cone with my thoughts, Being the first to wake up early and jump into the ice cold Delaware river by the river-house that me and my friends escaped to, Climbing on to a bus full of little girls who speak a different language than me and being expected to be their camp counselor for the next month (I won the award for “cutest counselor”—everyone seemed to like me!), Standing in front of six beautiful horses and feeding them apples without another human being in sight (that’s a story for another day).
I guess the point is, once I was ok with being alone, so many opportunities opened up to me. Stop being concerned with the question if people are looking at you or not. Stop being scared. If it helps to have a journal as a companion, that works to: just remember that if you never go out and experience new things, what will you write about in your journal?
Confident, independent women are most admired. More importantly, happy women are most fun to be around. If you are more of an extrovert than an introvert, it is all the more important to feel comfortable being alone. People are drawn to those who feel contented with themselves. Only once you feel true inner-happiness can you make others feel happy; and others want to feel happy, not sad.
You can be your best friend. You can rely on you. You will never leave you. Walk, not only with your head held high, but with a smile on your face.