Anyone have a thesaurus…or at least the app? If not you should get one, they’re amazing! Okay, now lookup the word ‘alone’. Abandoned, friendless, hermit, lonely, deserted…are we seeing the pattern? Being alone shouldn’t be seen as an issue. I can CHOOSE to be alone without being lonely!
Have you ever went to a restaurant or movie theater on your own? Traveled? Well I have. Especially in the past three months. Graduating college and taking on the world alone has really created a new way of life. I’m starting to understand the “independent woman” claim I’ve been spouting for years. And the number one lesson I’ve learned thus far is that I was not nearly as independent as I had thought.
Humans are social beings. It is such a habit for us to be in constant company of one another that we don’t know what to do when we are alone. Thank goodness for technology right?! Now whenever faced with that awkward situation of aloneness we just whip out our handy-dandy phones and block out the world. Well let me tell you what you’re missing.
Being in public alone grants the perfect time for uninterrupted observations. It is so interesting to watch how people interact with one another. More so, you can witness other’s reactions to you being alone. In case you’re wondering, society doesn’t seem to like it when a twenty-something woman sits by herself in the local chinese restaurant.
The awesome part about “alone” experiences is that you never know what will happen. During my trip to New York City last month I had the chance to fly next to a pretty cool guy from Chicago. It’s always funny how situations unfold, though. As the guy sat down he automatically pulled out his headphones. He plugged them into his phone, put up his hood and leaned back in his seat. I thought, whelp so much for an interesting flight. However, as we were getting closer to takeoff I noticed he seemed a little fidgety (I noticed because I wasn’t stuck in the screen of my phone). We then shared a laugh about a crying baby in front of us and that’s all it took to start a conversation. Come to find out it was his first time flying.
In that short hour and a half two strangers shared fear, anxiety, joy, and humility. Without even knowing each other’s names! There is probably a one in bazillion chance we will ever cross paths again. But in that moment we were all we had. How awesome is that to think about? Every place that we go, we have endless opportunities to grow through each other.
I used to hate going out in public alone. The problem is that it is impossible to be alone in public. There are always other people. Feeling alone in public is one of the habits that we can’t seem to break. And no, I’m not saying that you can go out in public and expect to fill a void in yourself. I know that dance, trust me. We are talking surface level right now. But want to know what happens once you scrape the surface with a stranger?
Well Aiden, the boy on the plane, was flying for the first time. Where was he going? England. This guy was flying for the first time ever, alone, all the way to England. Surface level information. The deeper effects? Aiden will never know that I was freaking out about traveling to NYC alone. But hearing his story and seeing his confidence gave me confidence. Confidence that I wouldn’t have gained without sharing a simple laugh with a stranger.
If I have learned anything in this short three months it is this: I might be a soloist in this thing called life. But at no point should my aloneness be mistaken for abandonment or loneliness. I am comfortable with ME. And once I became comfortable with myself, I started to see all the beauty that is hidden in the minute details of this world.
Don’t be afraid to get lost in yourself.