Table for One
Living in a building with 200+ other people, it can be a challenge to find alone time. I look back at who I was in high school, and I always had to be doing something or be surrounded by people. I did not like to be alone. If I was physically alone, I was on my phone texting my friends, or scrolling through my news feed. I equated alone with lonely.
I only started to enjoy being alone more in college. When I was training for the marathons I actually enjoyed my runs. I did not like running with others. Running was an activity I wanted to do by myself. My runs were the only time during my day where I was truly alone with my thoughts. Somedays my mind was completely blank, focusing on my feet pounding on the pavement. I thought that running was one of those "socially acceptable" times to be alone. Never, did I see myself going to a sit down restaurant and eating a meal by myself.
It's funny, now that I don't have as much time alone it is something that I crave. Maybe that is a part of growing up. Or maybe it is because when I am alone I learn more about myself. Maybe going solo is enjoyable because I have learned to actually like who I am. Instead of equating alone to lonely, I now look at it as peaceful, relaxing, and adventurous. I have found that when I travel alone, I meet more people, I run on my own schedule, I can eat what I want to eat, when I want to eat. What I do is entirely up to me. Whether that means waking up at 6am for a morning hike, or sleeping until 10, making coffee, and lounging until noon. I get to be in control and decide how my days are going to play out, and it is beautiful. I find myself saying yes to things I might not normally do. I can sit at an outdoor cafe for three hours with my journal and drink a glass (or three) of wine. I have noticed in those situations I become more approachable, and people are often genuinely interested in why I am alone. What's fun is telling them why I am there, what I am doing, and the look of surprise they often have.
It's liberating. It's unpredictable. It's enlightening.
Now please excuse me, it's lunch time and I need to go find a table for one.