Alone, Not Lonely

Date: June 8, 2015

posted by Lee / Comments: No Comments / Tags: , , , ,

When I’m away for work I spend an awful lot of time alone. It’s something I’ve gotten used to over the years, but at times I still find it a challenge, as I’m a massive over-sharer at the best of times and more often than not, there is no one here to share with. I have days where I long for companionship; the opportunity to engage with someone on a level that doesn’t involve spreadsheets and budgets, but I can’t because that’s not my job.

I am always at work when I’m here. Therefore I’m always visible, always available and I wouldn’t have it any other way, but it also means that an occupational hazard for me is loneliness. However, where once the solitude of this very social position made me a little sad, it now excites me because I have learned over the years how to really be alone.

I just had my dinner all by myself; I made a table of a patio chair and scooped mouthful upon mouthful of delicious kotthu into my greedy gob and somewhere along the way I bit into one hell of a fiery chili. Now if this was real life and I was back at home, I’d have been able to express my discomfort with someone, because that’s what we do as humans. We crave shared experience as it gives us validation that we are, in fact, alive.

However, as I am on this balcony, eating off of a plastic chair solo I had to experience it that way. I had to live through it and see how it made me feel. What, if anything I could learn from that experience? I didn’t run to post about it on Faceboook, or tweet a picture of my dinner with the caption DANGER under it. I just felt it, got through it and had a truly authentic personal experience witnessed by no one but me.

I know the chili might not be the most profound example, but try it yourself. The next time you’re alone, really be alone. Turn off your phone, the TV, the internet and put down the book and have an experience. Go for a run or write something or, go ahead, eat a chili and see what happens.

I hear a lot from friends I’ve advised to try this to that ‘I just get bored.’ Understood, but if you’re just sitting there, staring at the wall, it’s really, really boring. To have a solitary experience you need to be actively experiencing something.

Here are my top tips for really being alone:

  1. I’m just going to put it out there- Masturbate. Too often as women we deny ourselves physical pleasure unless it is given by another party. Start here and see where it takes you. It’s not selfish nor is it ‘gross’ it’s a way to get to know your body as well as yourself as a vibrant sexual being.
  2. Meditate- Set aside just 15 minutes a day and see what happens when you are simply just being with yourself.
  3. Start with small social activities- Go for a meal by yourself in a totally new restaurant and try a new type of food. Or go shopping and resist the urge to seek approval for your purchases, trust yourself.
  4. Write- Spend some time writing by yourself and see what kind of characters or scenarios you can create, writing is a great way to connect to yourself.
  5. Travel- This one’s a big one for me, to truly get to know who you are as a person, go for a wander.

Doing any of those things by yourself is a great start to understanding who you are, as well as enjoying your own company. Too often today we rely on social media as a substitute for genuine human interaction and ignore the opportunity to further connect with ourselves by using that time more usefully and intentionally. I’m not saying ditch it all together, but if you find that you have free time in your day, try spending it with yourself instead of in front of a screen, there’s so much more to experience.

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