During this last weekend, I have had a handful of people exclaim in a bewildered tone, “Alone!?!” This is their response when they ask me who I am with and I tell them, “I am by myself.”
“Alone?” They repeat with a look of shock, like it is absolutely the most maddening news they have ever heard–like Brittany Spears marrying Bill Gates or something.
But, being alone can be absolutely amazing:
Friday night I stayed at home, wrote a few pages for my novel, cooked myself a yummy dinner and watched an old film that I had never seen before, “Breakfast at Tiffany’s”–alone. (Which is quite fitting as Audrey Hepburn also plays the role of an independent socialite…)
Saturday night I drove to Reggio Emilia, alone, found a cute little restaurant where I enjoyed a nice dinner, alone, and then went to Sali and Tobacchi–a gorgeous bar, restaurant and discoteca, alone.
Monday I drove to Parma, alone, went to the Correggio art exhibition, alone, and ended the night with a glass of wine and an apperativo at a cute little restaurant in a piazza, alone.
It’s not to say that I want to do everything alone. Sunday night for instance, I met up with my new Italian friends for an apperitivo (happy hour) and later a fantastic dinner of homemade tortellini (made by my friend’s nonna (grandmother)…absolutely delish!). I one-hundred percent think that good friends are essential in life. There is nothing more special than sharing a similar connection with someone else. I am a social butterfly by nature and wouldn’t be able to live without social interaction.
However, since travelling on my own, I have been forced to do things by myself. And, I have discovered that being able to do things independently has been an incredible characteristic to develop–one that is truly empowering.
Firstly, you don’t have to rely on someone else in order to do something you want, you are in charge–you’re the boss. Secondly, you build confidence in yourself as you conquer little obstacles on your own; if you want to drive somewhere but don’t know how to read a city map–by gosh you better figure it out. And, thirdly, you feel comfortable with yourself, you become your own friend, your own sense of entertainment. You don’t have to rely on someone else to make you happy, you can find happiness from within. Like a child. And, how great are children? I can sit for hours and just watch them in action, playing, laughing and making up imaginary games. They are happy even when they are by themselves, it’s a virtue we sometimes lose as we get older and begin to rely solely on other people to entertain us or make us happy.
So, my challenge to you is to do something completely by yourself that you normally would never do. Go to dinner, a movie, a weekend get-a-way…but do it alone. Learn to be decisive, learn to be confident in a crowded room of strangers, and learn to enjoy your own company!