A few years ago I had an epiphany. I suddenly realized that it was okay to go out and do things by myself. Now, this may not seem like an epiphany. In fact, it’s one of those things that we all know to be true, but when push comes shove, do we really believe it in our core? I didn’t, until after college. My college boyfriend and I had broken up two weeks before graduation, my friends were heading back to their respective hometowns and I was left alone. At first, I stayed home most nights and weekends. I didn’t want to go places alone. It was a scary prospect. Then something miraculous happened. The realization came that if I did not go out and do the things that I wanted to do, I never would. Again, sounds like common sense right? But think about it. Take a moment and think about all the times you’ve stayed home or decided to do something less fun because no one was available to join you. All that time adds up. That time equals the life that you wanted for yourself. So spend it doing what you want. I made a promise to myself at that time to never let my own fear keep me from doing something I truly desired.
In the time since that decision I have gone on vacation, tried new restaurants and bars, visited local festivals, seen movies and more, alone. And I’ve had a great time doing it. I know I’ve previously written about the importance of living on your own, especially as a woman, but the ability to go out on your own is equally vital to becoming an individual. You no longer need to abide by anyone’s schedule but your own. It’s liberating! Want to see a live comedy show? Go! No one’s free to check out that band playing Saturday? Their loss. Your gain. There’s a commercial currently using the slogan “life opens up when you do” and it’s absolutely true. Don’t close yourself off in your apartment/room/house. Open yourself to experiences that interest you.
I’m aware that this can be an intimidating proposition for many of you, so let me give you some suggestions on how to start out small and build your way up to full-fledged solo experiences like traveling. For starters, the best way to ease into it is to check out a local coffee shop. It’s great. You can get your regular cup of coffee, bring a book and just sit and read while enjoying your caffeine fix. This is great if you’re wary of interacting with strangers. The book keeps you engaged while you’re out partaking in the world around you. For more of a time commitment, you can choose a seat at the bar at any restaurant. Again, you could bring a book, or if you’re feeling up to it, you can engage the bartender or fellow patrons. It’s all at your comfort level. I know it can be scary at first, but like anything, it gets easier. I promise.
Once you’ve decided that you don’t need anyone to go with you places, you’re free. No barriers stand between you and experiencing all that life has to offer. So go on that brewery tour, check out that festival, or get a cup of coffee at that café you’ve been eyeing. It’s a brave new world and so are you…so what are you waiting for?