Taking the lonely out of being alone

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Taking the lonely out of being alone

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Turning dreaded activities into everyday normalities, the aim with my column “Do It Anyway” is to provide insight on why it’s important, based on experience, to do those little things in life nobody really wants to do.

To paint a quick picture of myself, I’d say I’m a pretty independent young adult. As Student Body President, I’m focused, driven, and I know what I want and when I want it. I have a great boyfriend, even better friends, and above-average confidence when it comes to the things I’m good at. But let me tell you, it wasn’t always like this.

Let’s flashback to the summer of 2014: A time when I transitioned from awkward sophomore to awkward upperclassman.

I quit my job at TJ’s Pizza, a locally-owned family business. My family business. Yeah, you don’t know awkward until you tell your sweet ole grandfather you don’t want to work for him anymore.

I visited Goose Rocks Dairy every week for six weeks to talk the owner into giving me a job. And every week without fail, the same girl would be waiting at the window for me when I walked up. “You here to see Nick again?” she’d ask before I could even say anything. Talk about awkward.

I didn’t have friends. Okay, I had friends, but not close ones that I could just call up randomly and make plans with. I mostly sat at home, waiting for someone, anyone, to invite me somewhere, anywhere, so I could tag along. Awkwardly.

But I grew tired of that routine. I grew tired of being in the back. I grew tired of just waiting around. One day, I finally decided enough was enough. Nobody wants to come to the beach with me? Fine, I’ll take myself, I thought. And that was that. I packed up a towel, headphones, and a few snacks and I headed to the coastline. And from the moment I stepped foot on the beach, it felt as if I was receiving judgemental stares all day just for being alone.

Then, one day, instead of going through the drive-thru at McDonalds, I went inside to dine. I sat there in a booth eating a six-piece nugget and a large fry. And I felt as though every person that walked in was pitying me just for being by myself.

But doing things alone eventually became a normal thing for me. I stopped thinking about it as a chore and started to view it as an opportunity for growth. The amount of independence, self-awareness, and confidence I gained from finally doing things on my own was immeasurable.

I came to realize that nobody cared if I was alone or not. It took me a while, but I finally noticed that nobody noticed me. Nobody stared. Nobody cared. I loved it.

When I told my friends of my experiences, some of them laughed; some of them questioned my sanity. But why?

Since when did being alone automatically become synonymous with being a loner? Just because you don’t have a group to travel with 24/7, doesn’t have to mean you have no friends or you don’t have fun. Don’t deprive yourself of places you want to go or things you want to see just because you don’t have someone to accompany you. Be your own best friend. Walk confidently by yourself. I’m telling you, once you get over the fact that nobody cares that you’re alone, you’ll feel liberated. Even I, the Queen of Awkward during the summer of 2014, was able to get over the uncomfortableness of doing things by myself.

So I challenge you to do something, or many things, by yourself for a change. Instead of watching endless Snapchat stories and wishing you were out driving with your friends or getting ice cream with your boyfriend, take yourself out for a drive; go treat yourself to some ice cream. Drive with the windows down and sing as loud as possible and don’t forget to splurge on hot fudge and sprinkles. Learn how to have fun with yourself because while friendships and relationships may fail, the one person you’ll always be able to count on is you.

 

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