Friday, 19 February 2016

The Art of Being Alone

What does being alone mean? The word alone has always had negative connotations to me. Being alone automatically meant being lonely to me which is probably why I have spent the majority of my life trying to surround myself with people 95% of my waking time. 

Whether that was filling my diary to ensure I was always surrounded by friends, or living in a house share or living with someone...anyone, even to seeking out a relationship because I was bound to be happier in a relationship than being on my own right? Well not so. A relationship shouldn't be a concession to being lonely. 

It's taken me precisely 27 years to understand that learning to be alone is essential. I say I understand, I haven't quite got to the point where I am good at it but I understand how important it is to be happy being alone, and that alone doesn't instantly equate to being lonely. They are, in fact two very different states. 

My Dad has always said that although he has spent many years being alone he spends very little time feeling lonely. That in itself is a state I want to find myself comfortably in. A life relying on other people to fill a hole and make you feel complete is a dangerous one if you ask me. As dad would say you need to find yourself happily bouncing along, a complete ball which bounces in a straight line. Not one who relies on others to bounce along happily, and if they disappear or leave your life you feel like you are missing a piece, leading to you bouncing uncontrollably all over the place. 

Don't get me wrong, I can go to the cinema alone, I can sit in a restaurant and comfortably enjoy an evening on my own, but too many hours alone without really speaking to anyone almost undeniably lowers my mood. My mind wonders when really this alone time is useful to take stock, relax and look forward rather than catastrophize.

I find myself writing this at a time of change. I now live alone, for the first time. I have always lived with people but now I live entirely alone. This in itself fills me with excitement the majority of the time. I can see who I want, when I want. I can plan friends coming to stay etc, but I cant help but find myself worrying about how I will occupy my time and worry about whether I will feel lonely alone. 

Instead I'm refocusing. I'm going to use the beginning of this next chapter to work on me. To find my rhythm living alone and building myself a happy life, just me, myself and I for now. Developing a routine and enjoying the solitude of a place I have made entirely my own. I plan to read, to indulge in movie marathons, cooking and dressing wildly inappropriately in the comfort of my own home. I want to work on the art of being alone and forget the fear of being lonely. Being alone is a state of physical locality, being lonely is a state of mind, and one which I believe can be managed. So here's to learning the art of being alone. 

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