Sometimes the prospect of being alone is terrifying. Having a day to yourself with absolutely no plans with anyone can seem like the longest and most boring. But what if it doesn’t have to be? How about we start to finally enjoy our own company?
It’s a special skill set to have – to be able to be alone, happily. Some people achieve it, some people don’t. Some people crave social interaction and attention but others, and these are the geniuses here, can easily sped time in their own company and not even bat an eyelid. That’s what we should be striving for, we should be able to do that. From birth we are told that we need to be nice to people, to make friends and to be social beings. But when between all this do we learn to be alone? Never. Because we think (well, we hope) we will never get to that stage. But it comes to us all and it’s there before we know it. Not because we’re widows or that we’re completely unattractive for marriage and end up living with cats.But at some time in our lives there is going to be a point we don’t have our safety blanket of friends, partners or family around us. And in those times of trouble, we need to know how to handle it and be happy being with ourselves.
Yesterday, I had this day. I had no plans. I mean, I could have had made some and had a busy weekend, but I didn’t. That tells me that I needed a weekend of no plans. Maybe I wanted to do all those things that I always planned but never achieved due to crazy hectic weekends we’re supposed to arrange every week. Because that’s what it is isn’t it. When Friday comes and the week is over, we all look forward to days off when we can cram in all the fun, all the time. Those weekends are the best. But weekends when you have the time to achieve different things, to explore new places and to have no idea of time, because you don’t need to. You’re on no schedule. It can be daunting, but if you let it it could be the start of your independence.
My day of no schedule (or people) started with me staying in bed. Nothing, but actually everything, to get up for. But that’s where I stayed. Later on accompanied by a coffee and breakfast. I watched a full Netflix movie before I thought even thinking about getting up out of my cosy bed. When I did finally get up, it was productive as I cleaned, sorted and washed until I decided it was such a sunny, blue day that even if I am alone – get out of the house, Meg. So I did. I put on my sunglasses (even though it wasn’t hardly sunny, but I was on my own so why the fuck not? See my happy face here) put on my comfy trainers and set off. Where I was going? I had no idea. But one of the tube stops must contain some fun for a lonely gal, right?
Maybe like other twenty something millennials – I ended up on Oxford Street. Hell on earth on a Saturday I know, but I was caught up in the panic and bustle of that manic road that I forgot I was a solo shopper, with my earphones in singing along to bad country music. After a few hours of that, I was damn hungry so to manage one of the most terrifying thing an adult has to get over – eating alone. My dad conquered this years ago, as a solo traveller a lot of the time he had evenings in a different country all by himself. He always told me that wherever he was, no matter what he was doing there, he would always go out at night. Even if it was just for one beer, because that was always better than staying in the hotel room. Maybe that’s what drove me out of the house that morning – my dad’s voice telling me that wherever I ended up, doing whatever I was going too it was always going to be better than sitting at home watching telly. I wandered around for a while. That’s one of the best things about London; you can wander around forever getting more lost with every turn, but you can see things you didn’t even know existed. Monuments and statues of people from history books, restaurants and cafes you see on the television but you have no idea they were even in this borough. You will see things you didn’t ever plan too. I stumbled across a cafe called Gail’s in a very fancy area of London behind Oxford Street. It’s nice to be in a different place – no one knows who you are, where you’re from or what you’re doing. So they may even think I’m a fancy Londoner and my back garden is Buckingham Palace… ha. Don’t think so love, I’m from Sheffield.
Anyway, I get seated in this cafe with my snacks and tea on it’s way and I think. What now? Do I do the typical young person safety blanket and check my Instagram and twitter, ignoring all other human beings for the remainder of my time here? Well, I did do that only for a few minutes just so I didn’t look completely crazy. Then I actually started writing the first part of this post (so I looked super important), then I sat. I people watched and I listened to other people’s conversations. Then I got my book out and read. I did this until I finished my tea pot and left. Not once did I think, ‘omg I bet they think I’m so weird being here on my own when they’re with they’re friends’. Have I really achieved eating out alone? Just possibly.
I headed home and cooked dinner, stopping off on the way home where I wanted and doing whatever I felt like doing. I cooked dinner, I watched a movie and it was great. As much as my no plan day was fun, I was relieved when my housemate got home. I was craving some conversation with a real person. I wanted to converse and tell them about my day – and hear about theirs too. I suppose even though I thought I did well without having to be social with anyone, it comes down to the fact that I enjoy it. We all do. We crave the laughter, the fun and the absolute crap that we chat when we are around a person we love. And even though it’s important to be able to spend evenings and days alone, we all need other people.
I challenge you to a day alone. To have absolutely no plans. See where it takes you, I bet you will end up doing the things that you actually really love, but never even realised.