As humans, it is our nature to be in a pack, big or small. We like to do things together, eat together, sit in the same room together, etc. We are used to always having somebody with us no matter where we go or what we do because we enjoy having company. We view our company as a safety net in case things go wary or we lack the confidence of experiencing new surroundings and events. But what if you want or have to do things alone?
I’ve always considered myself a loner. Don’t get me wrong, I have my family and friends who I spend time with. I love interacting with my coworkers throughout the workday. However, there were times where I was simply alone. There were places I wanted to go or things I wanted to do, but I never could find the right person or people to do them with me. Life would take over. Plans would fail. Disappointment would settle in. Overall, it was a struggle.
Over the years, I’ve learned to enjoy my own company. I started this adventure in 2016 where I experienced my first time eating alone at a restaurant. I was celebrating my first big girl job and wanted to celebrate. My family and friends were busy on the days I wanted to go. Therefore, I took it upon myself to celebrate for me. At that time, it wasn’t a common thing to see a 26 year old female sitting in the middle of a crowded room eating by herself. The interesting piece of this was, the server initially felt sorry for me when they had approached my table. When I began explaining the reason I came, it all made sense. My first experience eating solo was odd, but the service was exceptional.
Fast forward to 2019 when I took my first road trip on my own. I traveled from West Virginia to explore the surrounding areas of Fayetteville, North Carolina. I once had a dream of packing up my bags and moving there to start my life over. I was looking online for job openings at local schools. I even physically located the home I had dreams of buying. The trip itself was a liberating experience. I had the chance to explore botanical gardens, eat at a local diner, attended a random antique car show and shop at local clothing boutiques.
So how do you enjoy your own company?
First of all, start small. Go somewhere you are familiar with, whether it’s at a local coffee shop, movie theater, or a mall. Once you’ve become more comfortable with these areas, begin expanding. Pick a day where you want to explore a new place. Find a local place that you’ve been wanting to visit such as a park, restaurant, shop, etc. and just go. Visiting a park? Pack a lunch and your favorite book. Going to a restaurant? Get to know your employees and get some insights on their favorite dish. Go somewhere local until you are comfortable, then expand.
My biggest rule going exploring a new area myself:
Enjoy my surroundings and stay off the phone as much as you can. There are times where people use their phones and mindlessly scroll in order to avoid uncomfortable situations. This is something to be mindful about because if you’re on my phone at a new spot, how are you supposed to get the full experience?
Initially, it’s an uncomfortable situation when you’re out and about by yourself. Over time, you begin to enjoy your own company. You get to do the things you want to do. You can go places you’ve been dying to visit. Plus, you can have a good time by yourself. It’s simply getting over the first hurdle and getting yourself adjusted to a new experience.
If you have had similar experiences, I would love to hear about them. How long did it take for you to begin enjoying your own company? What were your initial thoughts and feelings when you enjoyed a new experience by yourself?