Going out alone.
i.e. Seeing a movie by yourself, going to a restaurant alone.
“Dude I saw No Country for Old Men twice by myself. I’m addicted to chronic masturdating.”
I met up with an ex this time last year. I say ex, he was more someone I fancied when I was 16 and “went out with” regardless of not knowing what a boyfriend was (HAHAH DONT SNOG ME THATS GROSS). It was a great reunion. He’s a good guy and we laughed for hours, we talked like old friends do into the wee hours of the morning- discussing old school mates, what we’d done since and what had changed. His new love, and mine.
“You’ve completely come out of your shell… you’re so confident now” he exclaimed.
My immediate response was “Nah, i’ve always been like this…” because in my mind I had. But alas, i’m not sure this was entirely true. It’s only by looking back that we realise how far we’ve actually come to being a fully functioning human adult (woo!) and since that conversation, i’ve often looked back trying to work out if he was right. Quelle surprise! Obviously, he was… I mean hey, this is one of the major reasons why meeting up with old friends is so great; you realise how much has happened in between.
There’s a whole bunch of different things that have forced me to grow up and turn into the quietly confident person i’m hopefully becoming; boyfriends, new jobs, social experiences, difficult friendships and so on and so forth… but one of them, to me, is extremely important because I have to do all it myself.
I’m not talking about being single, even though I whole heartedly agree that it’s important to be happy with being alone in that respect too. I’m talking here about being physically alone.
I used to work as a cocktail waitress when I was in uni and I often turned up early (what the hell has happened to me) for work. There was a restaurant next door so i’d often pop in and have dinner on my own before I started my shift. I thought nothing of it until a guy from my year in uni who happened to be a waiter there came over and clapped me on the back “are you waiting for someone or have you been stood up?” These, apparently where the only two possible scenarios. This guy was neither a dick nor an idiot, but his immediate reaction was that I couldn’t possibly be eating alone by choice. That option didn’t even factor into his thought process.
Spending enough time by yourself and being okay with it has always been seen as an introverts game. They don’t like being in social crowds all the time right? Wallflowers love reading in coffee shops and going to the cinema alone right? Possibly, but so do I, and I’m just about the loudest most social person you’ll meet. Being comfortable alone is for everyone.
I’m excited to move to Greece, meet new people and go on adventures with strangers who will become friends, but i’m also excited about spending time on my own, blogging and eating at tavernas alone, because some of the most important things you learn about yourself are learnt in the spaces between the madness, the noise and the hectic work/social life you’ll inevitably have as a twenty something. In the last 5 years i’ve realised that the only way to be stable, happy and develop mentally and healthily as an adult is to know what i’m like, what I think, what I want to do/be/have in life and that only comes from paying attention to yourself… and how can you do that if you don’t set aside time with yourself? Eenmaal the Worlds first solo dining experience totally get where i’m coming from.
I’m pretty big on the idea (and I think i’m fair in saying that most people are) that the most unhealthy way to live is to not face your problems, to ignore warning signs and to not talk about how you feel and use the support systems around you. But before that even comes into play, you need to know how to recognise the issues and unhealthy habits that are making you unhappy before you can even try to begin to solve them. It might sound super simple “obviously i’d recognise if I was doing something that makes me unhappy GINA GOD” but it’s really not. Sometimes you don’t even know you’re doing it. Sometimes something that is making you temporarily happy is making you unhappy in the long run. The only way to avoid this is to spend time alone. With yourself. On your own, and I don’t mean for a night or an evening to prove to yourself you can do it, I mean being comfortable doing it as a life habit. Getting to know yourself. Reading books you love, books you hate and thinking about why you hate them. Sitting silently in a restaurant eating quietly on your own and genuinely not giving two shits that people think you’ve been stood up.
Someone who can go to the cinema alone or eat dinner alone is someone who knows exactly who they are and are comfortable with themselves. That’s the type of person I’d want to be around, and hopefully after filling up a Nandos card full of dates with myself, that’s the person I’m becoming.