You and yourself

June 6, 2013

It's so great to have a good time with friends that it's hard to imagine sharing these kinds of experiences without them. Think of the trips, the parties, the nights spent talking until the sun rises, the comaraderie of going through a high pressure situation. Now think of the smaller things, like a good meal, a movie, even a drive to nowhere in particular. When you're sitting at home, and you've got a whole day ahead of you with nothing planned, it's the natural thing to call someone up to do something.

I'm scared to do it. To walk out the door with the full intention of spending quality time with myself. It's not that I need time to think, I do plenty of that, and maybe even too much. It's that I'm scared of running into a experience that, and it happens more often than not, I'm glad that I got to share with someone else being there and actually not having someone there.

It's unnatural. If I'm in my car, and I'm not running an errand, I feel weird passing time without being with someone else or on my way to being with someone else. It's this feeling that, if I'm hanging out with myself, that I and everyone around me will think I'm just someone who doesn't have enough friends. And that's horseshit.

I have the best friends in the world. So do you. Don't ever think otherwise. And they're lucky to have you. With this in mind, try spending some time with yourself. Spend time with yourself like you would with your best friend.

I got the first taste of this when I started freelancing. I loved working at places with free wifi around where I lived. Places like Starbucks and Corner Bakery. Working for yourself can drive you a bit crazy if you stay at home all the time, so I liked having people around, even though they're passing through and having nothing to do with me and I'd never talk to any of them. I'd give myself the excuse to go there to do work. But suddenly, I found myself going there and after a good bit of work, sometimes I'd sit back to enjoy a cup of coffee and read the latest book I was on. And I'd find myself walking around afterwards doing a little shopping. It was relaxing.

I have a good friend who does this all the time. She loves going to a cafe and staying there for hours, enjoying a sweet pastry and a drink. To read a book, to walk around and watch people. But it goes beyond this. She loves to go on trips by herself. Like you and me, she doesn't have a shortage of good friends, but she needs this time with herself. To explore somewhere she's never been, to lay on the beach, to see the sights, by herself, sometimes. She'll never turn down an invitation, but it's completely up in the air if she's going to spend a day by herself or not. That's amazing. For me, it used to be, if I'm not going somewhere with someone, I'm not going anywhere. I'm not saying there's anything wrong with this, because we have an infinite amount of work to do, and an infinite amount of things to entertain us at home, but that's not spending time with yourself.

Another good friend told me the other day something interesting he read. That although not many people do it, one of the most surprisingly satisfying things to do is watch a movie by yourself. At the cinemas I mean. Surprisingly, very little is lost if your friends aren't there. In fact, there are some aspects of it that are a little better. You don't have to worry, if you were the one that picked the movie, if your friends are liking it. You don't have to get irked if some of them have annoying habits, or like to talk. You don't have to worry about finding the right seats for a certain number of people, because you can fit your one person almost anywhere, even in a packed show. You get the same experience of immersing yourself in a movie in a large dark room if you're alone or not.

And I tried it. It was exactly like he said. I saw a movie I was itching to see for over a year by myself, something that would have been a sort of event with my friends back home, but due to circumstances I couldn't wait and had to see it by myself. It was awesome. I walked out of the theater with the exact same feeling I get when I watch a great movie. In fact, most of those times, I'm so invigorated and exhausted I kind of don't want to talk to anyone. It was a relief.

So do yourself a favor and try it. It's not going to be for everyone, but go to a museum, take a drive, do some shopping, eat a meal, watch a movie, not by yourself, but with yourself. After all, you're the only person that you're forced to be with every waking moment, so you might as well try to enjoy it.