Sunday, 13 May 2012

How to be alone



I know this is completely irrational and not normal, but I know a few other people like this. Whether coincidental or not, the two I’m thinking of are female too and constantly feel like they must be busy. As a result, we either feel guilty when we do nothing, or lonely or bored with our own company. Part of my problem is feeling like my life isn’t as productive or fun as other people’s, so when I find myself alone, I get bored and annoyed at how crap and uneventful things seem.

I know that there are a number of reasons that we as women may feel this way. We have magazines telling us to do everything: have a career, have a relationship, look great, have hobbies, socialise with your many friends and did I mention, look great. Of course we want to look like those smiling pictures of tanned, beautiful women gathered over cocktails or frolicking about on the beach. We want that life and want to make all of this happen, so of course we’re disappointed when we don’t, when we find ourselves at a loose end, wandering about the house in jogging bottoms, eating kit kats and flicking through the virgin media channels to end up watching Two and a Half Men again. (Before Ashton Kutcher ruined it of course.)
So as it is Sunday, and I found myself with no plans, I decided to start tackling this fear of missing out. I decided to learn to enjoy my own company and embrace unproductivity. How can you be any real fun when socialising if you don’t know who you are alone and left to your own devices? I realised that sometimes, we socialise for the sake of socialising and it’s not as fun as it should be because we’re only focusing on the fact we are out and about and how it proves the existence of our social life, not that we’re with friends, which is surely the whole point.

I read in Glamour magazine recently, that even when you REALLY don’t want to exercise, you’ll never regret doing it anyway. It was actually comparing that to sex and trying to persuade you to have more, but that’s not really relevant for a make-up free, fat pant wearing Sunday afternoon. Anyway, I decided that it was windy and cold and I REALLY didn’t want to jog, but I would do it regardless.  I’d go at my own pace and take the scenic route. I’m lucky enough to live near a beach, dene, walkway and cliffs and it’s really beautiful and peaceful. I actually found myself not only enjoying my jog, but finding paths through the sand dunes I’d never taken and ways to the beach I’d never noticed, so my jog turned into an adventure as well. I came home with my need for adventure and experience well and truly satisfied, as well as the endorphins you get after a good, sweaty work out.

Feeling good about things and having worked away my restlessness, I made a cup of coffee and sat down with my kindle and reacquainted myself with Chuck Palahniuk. I really enjoyed Fight Club and Invisible Monsters when I was in college, so thought I would sit down and read Damned, like I’ve been meaning to since it came out. Two more coffee trips to the kitchen and a couple of hours later and I’d not only got through the book, but realised I’d made it through an afternoon alone and without checking Facebook or Twitter, and I really, truly enjoyed it.

I rediscovered me time, the benefits of a good workout and life without Facebook. Even if just for an hour, I’m going to make sure I take time out where I don’t use my iPhone or laptop, and I just enjoy my own company. Even if it’s just to paint my nails, which I am going to do right now.  I’m thinking Barry M Raspberry or Lavender. 

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