Tuesday, June 17, 2014

The Art Of Being Alone

As I write this, I'm on a mini-break where I've been more or less left to my own devices by my host as I look out over the St. Lawrence river surrounded by trees and islands. Being alone on vacation probably isn't something a lot of people are eager to do, but much like going to a movie alone, I ask, why not? If you're craving peace and quiet and the chance to absorb nature, then a day or two by yourself surely can't be the worst way to go. It sounds pessimistic, but there's no one else there to ruin your holiday; no one to get drunk and pass out at 6pm, no one to get into arguments with. Most importantly though, it's about enjoying your own company.

Most of my life, people have labelled me anti-social or an introvert, and at times I won't deny it's true. However it's mostly been a matter of being conditioned to enjoy my own company; often times friends are busy, loved ones are away, or you just don't have the luxury to be in someone's company. What surprises most people is that what comes off as anti-social behaviour is really just the fact that I've come to be my favourite company. I can be out with a group of friends at a bar and having the time of my life, but somewhere deep inside, I'm always looking forward to going home at the end of the night to peace and quiet.

I'm a big believer that being alone is important. Not all the time (as I found when I went a week without human contact and nearly went bonkers), but we all need to stop and learn to enjoy the only person we're guaranteed to spend our entire lives with. It gives you time to think about your past, your future, and make sure you're really happy with where you are. Of course if you aren't then it's a little like torture having to stop and think about it, but it's still a good idea to check in with your psyche every now and then.

It's also incredibly valuable after ending a relationship. I've never been one to jump from one long-term relationship to another with ease and incredible timing (and I've never understood those who have) so I've always had the chance to sit and reflect on everything that's happened and what my next plan is. I was incredibly independent in my last relationship (to the point where that was probably a fault), but regardless of how much you retain your independence, you always lose a small part of yourself when you're involved with someone. Not in a "I'm dead inside" kind of way, but you just kind of forget what it's like to truly be free and alone and be happy with yourself without consideration for someone else's opinion. You should always be happy with yourself before committing to someone, and it's seems a hard concept to grasp for those who go on about just "wanting a boyfriend" - how can you expect someone else to love you if you don't love yourself?

So go on a trip, watch a movie, see a concert, have a meal, take a class. You know what activity you need a partner for? Double-dutch. There isn't any reason you can't enjoy every moment of life with the best company you were born with.

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