There is one thing about growing up that I was never taught, but as I grew to learn was not just independence, but the matter of fact that it is completely OKAY to be alone.
What is wrong with being alone? (And by alone, I don’t mean the ticking of the “single” box when you’re asked to declare your relationship status (or simply putting a “–“ on facebook to leave it to “ambiguity” or “anonymity” just to make yourself feel better.) Well, leaving all these social conventions aside, by the term “alone”, I don’t just mean singlehood.
Do you still remember the first day in school when you were a child, scrambling into school like little lost turtles, with school bags too big for your own good, excited, yet with the constant conscious anxiety popping up in that tiny little head of yours as you wonder “Am I gonna make new friends?” Am I gonna have to sit and eat lunch alone?” as you looked around with that lost perpetuated excitement yet, terrible fear of being alone…
The good news is however, as you grow older, that silly thought appears to waver and disintegrate (not so much into thin air) but it is becoming a welcoming fact that it is INDEED perfectly fine to be “alone”.
What is wrong with shopping alone? What is wrong with eating alone at a restaurant? What is wrong with going to watch a movie alone? What is wrong with walking in a park alone? What is wrong with going anywhere, or doing something, anything alone?!!
You might feel absurdly lonely and “loserish” eating by yourself at a restaurant as you feel the burning stares of million pairs of judgemental eyes on you, with obnoxious thoughts streaming viciously in their minds: “Look at that girl. What a loser. She’s eating alone?!”
But guess what guys, the actual truth is:
NOBODY. ACTUALLY. REALLY. CARES.
Yes! Nobody actually gives a damn. Most of the time, we are so conscious and mindful of what is going through others’ heads and what they think of us that we become excessively conscious and paranoid. We indulge, often not in ourselves but the need to please others and society. We become so absorbed by how people and the society perceive us that we find this constant pressuring need to keep up with an image and conform to what is deemed as “conventional” and the norm to society. We are afraid to be ostracised and ultimately afraid, to be left alone. Which unfortunately render us as nothing but insecure. I mean come on’, nobody actually bothers thinking or giving much thought that you are sitting down there alone having a meal or notice itsy bitsy minor details (like does this shirt look weird on you?) when they have much better things to do and worry about. At the end of the day, we are nothing but our worst critics.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a socially awkward “IHATEPEOPLE” kinda person. I love friends, I love crowds. However, as much as I enjoy being around people, I do like my alone time, and the truth is i love it! I enjoy going shopping alone, exploring a new place alone, staying home to watch a drama alone, going to a café alone and doing many other things alone. This time to me is extremely precious and treasured as it is the only time whereby you get to spend time with yourself, and just be yourself. You are able to do the things you really like and want to instead of having the constant need to entertain, account or accommodate to others, or anyone. The world is your oyster and you have all that quality time to yourself, yes to yourself only. And trust me, that feeling is amazing!
Being alone doesn’t automatically label you as a “loser” as you fear that it nullifies the effect of your social status and “coolness”. Spending alone time is respecting yourself, pampering yourself, loving yourself and granting yourself the prerogative of enjoyment. Besides, some quiet time alone gives you the space to reflect, explore and search yourself, dwelling into the depths which you would have never known. You may be surprised how this might even lead to the discovery of a new “me” or new interest (one that you have never known or was sadly lost in the shadows of the hustle and bustle of society.)
Being alone doesn’t mean being lonely. Do not be embarrassed. It is not pathetic. It is completely fine to be alone. As you embark on a journey of solitude and discard those shackles of neediness and dependence, you will realise that not everything about the society matters. Do what makes you feel happy. Give yourself the treatment, love and most importantly, time you deserve!
So who says 1 is a lonely number? “I” is a pronoun, and yes that is a friend too.