I’ll admit I am not good at being by myself. I am a severe hypochondriac who is calmed by having someone nearby to help me. I am a horror story fanatic who is easily spooked by dark shadows. I also just love to talk to people.
But being alone is important and I am terrified of becoming the kind of person who can’t be by themselves. This week I have gotten to spend a few days by myself and even though I was kind of dreading them they’ve been surprisingly important and have abated my fears. It turns out I love my own company – and even though I would never want to live alone full time it’s nice to to see easy it is to exist in my own space.
This post is partially me describing my day, partially offering advice on how to best settle into your own company.
Every morning I wake up a little earlier than expected. My body is still adjusting to letting myself relax into more sleep rather than having to wake myself up for work. I have taken it easy, when there is nothing to rush for than why rush? and so I spend some time just scrolling lazily through my phone, I usually read my horoscope which is prophetic in the way that I make it apply to my life after I have read it and then eeeeeventually roll out of bed into the day.
Music is the most important part of my daily routine. It fills the silence in between spaces and it’s fun to dance around the kitchen making breakfast. I put my whole phone on shuffle and then spend a lot fo time laughing at how whack my music library is – but whether it is a cool rave to some EDM or an emotional sing along to a love ballad it always makes me happy to have songs blasting top volume in the background.
Rest. I have spent a lot of these days being lazy. I’ve watched three movies which is more than I normally see in a year, I’ve started Suits, i’ve made it through at least eighty weird youtube videos. In between I read books and play games on my phone and do the crossword. I have drawn pictures and made snacks and spent some time just kind of looking out the window and thinking about how I am 15 days behind on this blog and that maybe I should do some writing the way I planned to without making any real attempt to write. It’s been nice to have a break. The rest of the year is always so hectic and loud, and even in the holidays when there are people around you it can be hard to shut off. So it’s nice when you can to close down for a second, and to stop thinking and to full the space with easy and silly and fun things. Like Vanessa Hudgens in the Princess Swap.
It’s also been nice to have time to clean at my own pace. I’ve deep cleaned the bathroom and the kitchen, taken the rubbish out, done maybe two months’ worth of laundry and wiped down all my surfaces. My house smells like cherries and candles. There is no dust on my bed side table.
But I think the most important thing is to still be social with yourself. Being lazy is exhausting so you should, at least most days, make yourself get up and get dressed. I do it indulgently. Take each step slowly, fluff around with my make-up and choosing my outfit. I wear jewellery and lipstick and I just find it really fun to get ready and to make yourself look fresh for yourself. It’s also healthy to leave the house every now and then. So go and run an errand or head out for a quick walk. Smile at people and inhale the crispness of the rain on the footpath. Return home with damp hair and rosy cheeks and relief that soon you can crash out on the couch with a cup of tea and your book again.
Finally, when you are feeling melancholy and can’t be with people I like to do things for people. Christmas is bad for me financially because giving gifts is my favourite thing to do and I don’t have sense of self control when it comes to my own money. But it’s good because when I am writing people cards or wrapping gifts I am flooded with this rush of love for that person. It is always very pure and bright and unadulterated and it makes me dangerously happy. In that way I guess the gifts I give are selfish because I derive so much joy from them. But it’s also a really nice thing to fall back on when you’re on your own – because when you have that much love inside you and you are doing things that will facilitate giving that love to others you can’t feel lonely. Also it doesn’t have to be gifts or expensive, it can be a letter or a video or a drawing – it just happens that this year the thing that I chose to do was gifts.
And when all else fails. Call someone. Spend some time catching up over the phone. Tell your stories. Remember that even when you spend time alone there are people who would run to you if you needed.
I had a similar themed post a few years ago about being alone but back then I was terrified of it in a way that I’m not anymore. I think at 20 I was so obsessed with the idea of reciprocal relationships. I was clinging to this self-righteous idea that just because you spent all year giving to people that they were obligated to return the favour. And that turned out to not be true and even though on an intellectual level I knew that, and even though my post justified them not giving back to me, it still hurt. You can read the pain in every flowery expression on the page.
Now feels different. I am by myself this December mainly due to the same reasons and because of the same person that caused all my sadness back then. The difference now is me. Time may not heal wounds the way they promise, but it helps you grow and little by little that growth makes you stronger. I am by myself tonight but I am not lonely. I am not stuck or shattered or hurt by the silence. It’s kind of like diving into the ocean – it’s hard to muster the courage but once you do you often find it is warmer under the water than it was out of it. It just takes a little bit of getting used to.
Alone can be lonely, and it’s not a way I would ever want to be not out of choice. But while I have the luxury of being so loved by such good people it is nice to choose it every now and then, And it’s nice to finally take some time in this very busy year to get some rest.