I recently decided that I was going to attend a concert by myself. I have literally been waiting almost ten years to see Kelly Clarkson live and I jumped at the chance to finally see her! I couldn’t find anyone to go with me because none of my friends are big fans of hers – turns out I’m the only who never really grew out of my preteen music tastes. Since I’d be going to the concert to see Kelly and not my friends, I decided I might as well go. I’d rather go alone than risk regretting not seeing the concert at all.
When I told my friends about my plan they said it would be weird if I went to a concert all by myself. Who does anything alone nowadays? This sparked a conversation about what is socially acceptable to do by yourself. The majority of my friends agreed that doing things like eating at a restaurant, going to the movies, or even going to the museum by yourself is strange. But, I don’t see why we look at it that way.
In the modern day of social media and the iPhone, it seems like we’re in constant communication with each other. There is always someone to text or tweet to. Having a healthy social life is important, but so is being able to do things on your own.
The nine-year age difference between my younger sister and I meant that, for the most part, I learned how to entertain myself as a child. I learned to be very independent and thrive on my own imagination. But, I never thought of my childhood as particularly lonely. I had friends at school and in the neighborhood who I would play with. But I was able to learn the importance of just doing things on my own and learning to be happy that way.
When I moved into a dorm during my first year of college, it suddenly felt like I had 150 brothers and sisters. I quickly developed close friendships with people who only lived a couple steps away from me. Suddenly, I was always doing things with someone else. Things like studying at the library, eating dinner, or even just doing laundry were done with someone by my side. I grew dependent on having other people around me.
One of the reasons I moved into an apartment without roommates this year was so I could have a space to do things by myself. Even though I loved having people around me, I missed the freedom of doing things by myself. I enjoy having independence and being able to be happy doing things on my own. I didn’t want to get too dependent on having others to always do things with because, in the real world, that’s just not realistic. We cannot always rely on the companionship of other people to make us happy. Sometimes, we have to learn to just be happy with ourselves.
There is so much value in doing things on your own. Our generation, in particular, seems to have forgotten this. Learning to value doing things by yourself allows you to step away from the busyness of everyday life. It allows you to focus on you for a change. You can reflect on all the chaos going on with a fresh, clear perspective. It allows you to take time to think about what you want and what makes you happy. Alone time allows you to regenerate. Spending time with people – although it can be refreshing in itself – does require a lot of energy on your part. Alone time allows you to focus all that energy on yourself, which is something you need to do every once in a while. If you don’t take time for yourself, then you’ll never be able to perform your best.
Doing things on your own allows you to cultivate your independence. It is never good to have to rely on other people for your happiness. In the long run, it can actually hinder your own happiness. I know I would regret not going to the concert just because I was scared to do it alone. You can’t live your life waiting for other people to join you; you have to go out there and do things on your own terms and people will eventually follow.
There are so many things that you can do on your own. It doesn’t necessarily mean you need to spend the entire day binge-watching Netflix (although that is always a viable option). Doing something alone can simply mean going and exploring the city you live in. Go to that art museum none of your friends are interested in or try some retail therapy. Treat yourself to a fancy dinner at an upscale restaurant and people watch or take a book and head to your local café.
Don’t wait for others to begin living your life. I know I’m not.
Featured Image via Tumblr.