The last 18 months have been some of the darkest we have faced in this generation. Unexpected deaths, countless hours spent alone, and separation from family and friends left us gasping for air. To say we were able to adapt to unknowns is a laughable sentiment. We had no choice. Through juggling Zoom calls, DoorDashing food, and InstaCarting our groceries, we found a way. We, the human race, found our way through. Many people called on their faiths, others called on goodwill and kindness, but we did it.
Together but alone.
As life reopens, this idea of ‘together but alone’ has stuck with me. As a single woman in my early 20s, I have ample time to be with people while still being all by my lonesome. Some days it doesn’t bother me, and other times I think I’m going to go crazy because I don’t have someone to share life with.
So why am I encouraging us to be alone? I believe that being on our own can lead to great freedom and release from many fears we may be unaware that we have. It took a stress-related bout of vomiting before a flight to make me realize how much I struggled with this. Not ‘lonely’ alone, ‘with myself’ alone. I had flown countless times before, but the stress of being without a friend made me aware of how reliant I am on people. The pandemic showed me that, too.
Is reliance on others wrong? Of course not! We need people as we grow and mature. Even as an introvert, I enjoy being around others and find it life-giving as I watch and help them grow. Our friends are individuals with stories to tell and lives to live. When we give them the breathing room to thrive, we open ourselves up to that same energy. We do not need to fear being by ourselves. Instead, we should enjoy time to breathe and perceive the world around us.
A few weeks ago, I took some intentional time to slow myself down and walk the streets of a city I was visiting. I needed to let my guard down. I knew my surroundings, and I knew I would not be in any rush to get home. When I tell you that it was so freeing to stroll down the sidewalk and take in the bustle of the city…*chef’s kiss*! It was refreshing, and I even found an art gallery I’d never seen before.
Opening yourself up to the practice of being alone with yourself is an asset to your wellbeing. Knowing how to set boundaries will make it much easier to build the habit of intentional alone time. It doesn’t have to be ambitious; putting your phone down is cultivating time with yourself, too! I encourage you to start setting time aside for this today. If you need a friend to try it with you, reach out! I’d love to help you on your way to wellness.
Thinking of you,