If you get to know me, you will soon realize that I love being around people. I am mostly an extrovert by nature and have greatly disliked doing things by myself.
Eating alone, watching a movie alone, walking alone, driving alone, being at home alone… You get the idea. There were many things I did not enjoy doing on my own.
During my twenties, I challenged myself to do two things alone – dining out and watching a movie. It was one of the hardest things I tried doing.
I didn’t bring a book and it was before the time of smart phones, so I sat at a restaurant at a table for one. I ate, looked around, and tried hard to enjoy my own company and thoughts. It was strange and completely uncomfortable.
My next challenge was not as uncomfortable as the dining out challenge, but I was still a bit apprehensive. Lonely old people are the only ones who go see movies by themselves, right? I don’t know why I felt slightly mortified asking for only one ticket. Since it was a matinee, I was the only one in the entire movie theater. It unnerved me even more to be alone in the giant theater, but I endured.
A few days ago, I found myself sitting and having lunch by myself. This time, though, I felt comfortable. It wasn’t a strange new feeling. I enjoyed having this 30 minute slot where I could think about whatever I wanted and I could enjoy my own company. It felt slightly indulgent.
It was such a surprise to feel the way that I did. It was an unexpected realization of personal growth. Part of the reason I never wanted to do these things alone was because I was afraid of what others would think and my lack of self-confidence plus a bit of self-centeredness. No one really cares I am sitting and eating by myself or going to a movie by myself, but to me, I felt like there was a huge “loser” sign hanging over my head. I also was greatly uncomfortable with myself.
Parenthood has helped in this area of growth for me. It has made me feel confident in myself and who I am. It has also made me treasure my moments of being completely alone. They are precious times where I can indulge, think, reflect, and meditate.
I still love being with people and being around people. If you ever want to have lunch or catch a movie with me, I will always welcome it!
What are some things you like to do on your own? Is it a challenge or is it how you prefer to be?