Today, I went to an art museum alone.
“I think solitude is a really positive thing. In today’s society, there’s so much pressure to communicate, eat out, be friends with people. Why can’t you read a book on your own? Why have you got to have a book club?” – Nicky Wire
I enjoy being alone. I like going to parks by myself and walking for hours alone with my thoughts. I like going to museums, movies, cafés, shopping malls, book stores, libraries, and groceries stores alone.
Many people confuse solitude with loneliness, but they are more different than they are alike. Solitude is the ability to be alone, being content with yourself and your own thoughts. Loneliness is just the opposite. Loneliness is feeling empty and alone without the comfort of others. For me, being alone is something I choose, whereas loneliness is feeling alone when I haven’t chosen it.
The world is always going to be filled with people, so what’s so wrong with finding moments of solitude among the hustle and bustle of life?
Now, this does not mean that I don’t enjoy other people’s company because I do! Even though I have a pile of awesome friends and a rather packed social calendar, I also don’t have a problem doing practically anything by myself.
Why? Because doing stuff by yourself is totally fricken awesome. You don’t need to worry about anyone’s time frame/budget/relationship status other than your own. No waiting for your friend, no feeling rushed, no feeling guilty.
Let me guess: you feel like you’ll look like a loser eating/dancing/concert-going alone. Guess what? Nobody cares. Nobody’s looking at you. And if they are looking at you, there’s a 99% chance it’s someone who thinks you are cute 😉 or thinks you are super brave, confident, and comfortable with yourself.
If you’re in public alone and feeling a little bit weird or awkward, of course you can play games on your phone, but you can also write in a journal, read, take photos, or sketch if you’re particularly artsy. This gives you something to do if you don’t want to make small talk with strangers.
“You’re so brave. I could never do that.”
“I can’t go to the movies by myself!”
“But I have no one to eat with!”
I’ve always been confused by this.
So what if you have no one to go out with? Are you going to stay inside and never interact with anyone again?
Are we really so trained by society that the idea of independence is not only frowned upon, but actually scary?
I love going out by myself. I make friends with strangers (one time at a cafe, a guy read my palm and gave me some awesome confidence-boosting advice). I’ve learned to trust my instincts. I’ve learned how to rely upon myself. I figured if I keep waiting on people to do things with me in life, I’d never go anywhere!
I hope that you, dear readers, know that it is okay to go out by yourself. Obviously, go safe places and befriend the locals, but know that there is no shame in sitting at the bar of a favorite restaurant and having dinner alone.
Anyone who judges you sucks. You’re awesome. Own it. Learn to love spending time with yourself. Imagine doing anything you like without needing anyone’s permission or opinion. It’s simply liberating!
How do you ever learn about yourself if you’re never alone with yourself? How can you listen to yourself if all you ever are is surrounded by noise?
Here is the brilliant poem that really made me feel comfortable with this idea of solitude. Have a watch:
What do you think?