One of the first things I get asked before traveling somewhere or doing something is, are you going alone? It’s gotten to a point, my response has become an automated YES!
When you ask me this question, it makes me feel defective in a way. Like I’m supposed to be navigating life with this huge tribe behind me. Dinner alone? Loser! Travel alone? What fun is in that! Bar alone? Who’s the creep sitting by himself! Movies alone? Never! Hike alone? What if something happens! I try my best not to let it bother me, but sometimes it does. It’s not that I choose to do things alone, it’s just how it always seems to be.
We’ve been conditioned in our society to look at the loner as a social outcast. Just because he/she chooses to not engage in social gatherings, makes them no less of an individual than those that do. I choose to do things alone, not because I’m anti-social, not because I’m shy, but what other option do I have? Sit and twiddle my thumbs while staring at the wall contemplating the meaning of life? I’ve certainly done enough of that. Maybe I’ll throw a mask on and become something I’m not. On second thought, I’d rather not!
Some people choose isolation over engagement. Personally when I’m down, that’s when I need to avoid being alone most, as it drags me even deeper into a self critical spiral. Do I need to be out with a large group, no, in fact that’ll probably make things even worse. However, finding one or two people to be around, that relate, has been a struggle. As I’ve addressed in a previous blog, “would anyons miss you, if you were gone …” the single world is a tough one to navigate as you get older. So what’s the solution? I keep going out and trying my best to engage in this ever maddening world. I have to, because every now and then, an angel appears. Whether they choose to stick around long term or not, that’s out of my control.
If you’ve yet to venture out on your own to do something by yourself, I challenge you today to do so. Start small by going to a local coffee shop and chilling. Observe your surroundings and the incessant chatter that goes on. Too afraid? I get it! I’ve sat alone in a jammed packed bar only knowing English, while everyone around me spoke a dialect of French/German, but I survived, and you will too, as uncomfortable as it may feel.
I continue to battle many of my fears knowing most of them are just a false sense of reality, but I’m slowly knocking each one out. We’re all guilty of judging and labeling, but the next time you’re out and see someone doing something alone, don’t be so quick to write them off as some pathetic loser who has no friends. Engage with them, you never know, it might just be an angel that you’ve been searching for.