I'm Alone; I'm Not Lonely
Updated: Sep 4, 2022
What a concept, right? I'm alone. And it's not as scary as I thought it would be. It's actually not scary at all. I want to preface this entire post by saying I am not upset, I am not angry or bitter, and I still have friends/family. But that is not what I am speaking or writing on.
I'm alone for the first time in my life. I went through a public education system with the same 120-130 kids from kindergarten until senior year. I went to pre-school with a guy who's locker was two away from mine for seven years (our junior and high school careers). I have been with peers all my adolescent life. And my early adult life consisted of college and grad school. I went to a very small liberal arts college and in a very close-knit program. We had about 1,200 students total and I walked the stage with about 35 in my major. We all had each others backs. We used a city of eight million as our playground, workplace, personal crying chamber, etc but it wasn't so big or scary when you had a wolf pack to navigate with. Like most children/young adults, we are shuffled along in life almost as if we're in a herd. We hit milestones together based on birth years or graduation dates. We're all on our own paths, but on the same timeline and that is comforting for most of us.
In addition to the education aspect, there's team camaraderie. I was an athlete my entire life and had the group experience of a team. I ran track from first grade onward and I played field hockey from seventh grade on. I was part of the basketball team and volleyball squad. I fenced in college and then coached field hockey in grad school. There's a special type of unity within a group that has a set goal to achieve, like a championship or a final. There is a bond and safety about being part of something and sports provide that to youth plus the few adults who continue later in life.
But all of that doesn't last forever. It ended for me in May of 2020 when I finished up my masters and in turn, also stopped coaching. I wasn't in a circle of like-minded peers or in a group with the same goal. I didn't have the same structure and stability that provided. However, I met someone in March of 2020 and developed a strong relationship. I had a partner; we did everything together. We both were more of less "funployed" and enjoying the freedom that provided. Also..peak of Covid so really big emphasis on lots of free time that we spent mostly with only each other. We were both looking for full-time career jobs in the process so we had that in common as well in the sense of peer-dynamic similarities. I lost a group of classmates but gained a boyfriend within the same timeline. He provided structure, support, a sense of motivation, and company for the majority of our time together. He was my +1 for any and all activities; he was my right hand man for mostly everything. However, June-ish of 2022 was the end of that specific romantic chapter and also the start of a new chapter; it's a self titled rather than a co-written.
It's September 2022 and I am alone for the first time in my life. I don't have classmates, I don't have a club or major activity, I'm not involved romantically and I'm not planning on it either. I was terrified of this, or the idea of it. I believe most of us, humans being heavily social creatures, are afraid of the concept of being alone or without a pack. And there is nothing wrong with that mentality or fear but I've hit a point in my life where I want to explore myself alone, without the safety net of colleagues. I'm not only without the dread of but more-so welcoming to the feeling / habit of being solo. I've taken many unaccompanied trips, I've been single for periods of time, but it's different now because I don't have the peer structure or shared timeline with anyone else.
I've prefaced this blog with the note that I do have friends and family; if anything I'm closer with both groups because of new-found embrace in romanticizing and prioritizing being alone / individual time. I'm not upset that I share no common goal with a group, or person. And I'm not yearning to have that right now either. I'm learning to let go of the hyper competitive aspect that comes along with milestone achievements among peers. Also! I'm reading myself over as I write and I PROMIIISE that I do not mean to sound this stuffy; this is something I've been feeling strongly on so wording it correctly is important. ANYWAY....I'm at peace with the new chapter of being alone, single, solo, party of one, whatever you'd like to call it.
I've been careful not to say lonely (other than the blog title) because I'm far from it. I've been spending more time with those I haven't seen, due to the past two years being filled with prioritizing my last relationship as well as my education before that. I do not regret doing either but it's comforting to know I didn't lose face with those I care about. I've even been lucky enough to make some new friends recently! I am alone, but not lonely at all. And the best part of all of these new discoveries is that I've found a friendship with myself that I don't think I've had before. It's corny to say but you really do spend the most time with yourself and it's important to be happy with that company. I've struggled with being sure of myself. Although - my friends will tell you that I never follow their advice (even if I requested it) and always beat to my own drum. I'm spending more quality time in my own company and that has turned a new leaf in my wholehearted confidence and self-assurance.
I'm not qualified to give advice but I'm bold enough to open up about what I feel and in turn, I hope that someone finds a pearl of wisdom or a nugget of their own truth in what I have to share. I am supposed to be an influencer, right? So let me influence or encourage you to try a solo date. You should take yourself to dinner. Make that reservation for one. Or buy one singular ticket to a concert. You can start small and just walk to a coffee shop and back. I've found peace in being my own date and I'm growing more genuinely independent and trusting in my choices because of it. Tomorrow? I'm taking myself to the Shark Exhibit at the ANHM and to a little lunch. You can follow my lead - please report back via DM on what your solo date was and how you ended up feeling towards it, because it's going to be great. I promise.