Spending Time Alone is Okay
By: Elise Roncace (@eroncace97)
When I was younger I always used to think spending immense amounts of time alone was a scary, looming dark cloud. I would text my group of friends days before the weekend hoping to make so many plans that I wouldn’t have to spend a second alone. Most of this came from my desire to avoid being bored, but as I grew I realized that I was running away from myself.
The stereotype that exists in society is that you can never be seen doing things in public alone, outside of grocery shopping or going to the gym, or you’re branded as “a loner” or someone without many friends. I found this to be especially true when I was in middle and high school. God forbid I got out of the car alone to pick up take out for my mom and I saw Sally and her “squad” eating pizza in a booth. But, being alone was something more of a dark shadow to me for a very long time; I thought it was just because I am naturally extroverted and enjoy being social, but, I soon realized it was because just hanging out with me was terrifying.
I’m the type of person who is constantly thinking and observing details, so when I am alone it is common for my thoughts to consume me. Literally. I used to overthink so much that I would start to believe ridiculous things such as “all my friends hated me” or “I was never going to achieve my dreams because I’ve been sitting on the coach for an hour.” I began to become over analytical of myself and would avoid these moments of overthinking and boredom by making my schedule so packed I barely had a moment to breathe.
Once I got into high school people became more busy with schoolwork, after school activities and sports so the time for being social was lessened. I was forced to spend more time alone, and once I used this time to focus on doing things I loved the more gradually I began to enjoy being alone. Listen to me very carefully when I say this: There is nothing wrong with doing things you love alone.
One of my favorite afternoons of this past summer was going thrift shopping in a nearby beach town and getting lunch at a local vegan cafe by myself. It was nice because I could do whatever I felt like doing without having to worry about other peoples schedules, or if they don’t like where we’re shopping/eating/etc. I just got to focus on solely what I wanted. Which at a glance sounds like a pretty selfish thing to be thinking, but it’s truly not. Self care isn’t selfish, and if you want to spend a day only doing things you enjoy without having to worry about anyone else you deserve that!
So even if you don’t feel like you’re totally ready to brave the cold and spend a day out in town (which is totally okay, it took me like two years to get to this point) these are my favorite things to do when I’m alone:
- Read, Read, Read!
- Write, Write, Write!
- Binge watch Netflix
- Reorganize my room and/or closet
- Look for new bands I love on Spotify
- Take a bath
- Light some candles!
- Do yoga (poorly)
- Teach myself guitar
- Walk my dog
Finally…do things you’ve been meaning to do: whether this is reading that book you’ve been wanting to start, or applying for the internship of your dreams–do it! This is your chance, when you dedicate a day to yourself you’ve got all the time in the world to achieve your dreams.