30 things I love about being alone...
Yesterday I was having a bad day.
It was just one of those days when everything got on top of me for various reasons and I felt out of my depth and overwhelmed.
I shared a post in a private Facebook group run by my friend and fellow coach Julie New, most of which I have decided to now share below because I know I am not alone in feeling this way. I also know that when we share openly from the heart we invite others into that space to share their world.
“This feels vulnerable and even stupid to admit because I'm 35, I'm a nice person, I do have friends and I'm in the 'prime' of my life (whatever that is anyway!) but somehow I've ended up feeling lonely.
So incredibly fucking lonely.
I think I have been for some long time but it had been masked until very recently so I was unaware of it's extent. Now reality has kicked in and I need to take the reins and do something about it. I guess that's why I am sharing this openly, because i'm not going to be the victim of my own life!
Five days ago I took on an 8-month housesit at my friends parents place whilst they are off travelling. It is the first time I have ever lived on my own- previously I have lived with housemates at uni, or with partners or parents. I have always had some form of 'company' or some level of 'background noise'.
Reality kicked in really quickly.
I work for myself and can often spend days mostly on my own. I'm not in a relationship. I have wonderful friends but this is not about a lack of people I can call upon. Sometimes a sense of isolation hits out of the blue.
I am an introvert. I hate small talk.
I crave deep conversations and a meaningful hug.
I don't want to be fixed (I am not broken), but sometimes I just want to be heard.
Sometimes (like today) the only people time I have is going to a class at the gym. It feels so good when I am there to adsorb the energy of group of other people. But in reality I might only share a 'hi' and a smile with the ladies next to me, then a 'thanks' to the instructor as I leave.
I do enjoy my own company. It fills me up and fuels my creativity BUT I have too much of it at the moment.
I also realise that I have been spending a lot of time working on my own personal projects, working behind a computer screen - writing my book and re-launching my website - I notice those activities in themselves lack an immediacy of connection and contribution, so they perpetuate the isolation. Small yet very significant things for me to notice.
I feel vulnerable in admitting this because as someone who considers themselves pretty self-aware, a coach for goodness sake... how did I not see this coming? How can I possibly be lonely, it seems almost selfish in this world full of opportunity to even admit it out loud.”
Of the back of this post there were such wonderful words and many ‘me toos’ shared on the thread in the group. In articulating my emotions into words, I gave myself the pace to realise where in my life I had been lacking and not that I had an issue with ‘being alone’ but instead it was an issue with not connecting and contributing enough to people and causes beyond myself. This gave me a fresh perspective and a choice to make some changes.
I am also still fairly fresh out of a relationship that ended late last year. I found it very tough emotionally and in the soft quiet moments of the day, or the last thing at night, I sometimes do still struggle.
So I decided to write a list.
As it happens a list of 30 things I love about being alone. Because to be quite honest, I do really enjoy my own company and here’s some of the reasons why…
I can spread out diagonally across the double bed.
I don’t have to work around anyone else’s routines.
I can travel and go on trips spontaneously without warning.
I can go to bed and get up whenever I want without the worry of waking anybody up or being woken up.
I can’t sleep at night I can just put the light on and read a book.
I can make my own decisions without having to run them past anyone else first.
If I want to eat chocolate for breakfast there is no one to judge me.
I can spend time with whoever I want to spend time with without feeling I should be somewhere else.
No obligations to go to social gatherings I don’t want to go to.
Fewer obligations altogether.
Family dynamics are much more straightforward.
The food shop lasts longer.
Less laundry to do.
If the toilet doesn’t flush ‘it’ away properly, I don’t need to hang around waiting for the tank to fill so I can flush it again.
No misunderstandings about whether it is my turn to do something or not.
No one will ‘accidentally’ eat the special treat I bought to enjoy after dinner.
I can enjoy the silence.
I can be as creative as I want to be without holding back… even if at times it may appear as though I’m possessed by the devil when an idea first lands in my head.
I can play the same song on repeat for two hours and no one will complain.
I can eat meals at random times without needing to coordinate with anyone else.
The only mess I need to clear up after is my own.
There is no ironing that needs to be done, and no expectation to do it.
The toilet seat will never be left up.
There is no great debate about whether the ketchup goes in the fridge or the cupboard.
I don’t have to pretend to enjoy TV or watch Netflix, in fact the TV never gets switched on.
I can stay out as late as I want without having to check in with anyone.
I can go to the gym in the evening without feeling like I should be spending it with someone else.
If I’m in the middle of a big creative crafting session, I don’t need to clear it all away when I finish, I can just leave everything right where it is to come back to another time.
I can leave a pile of washing up in the sink until the next morning and no one will care. Ditto with a full dishwasher.
I can have a long leisurely bath without anyone knocking on the door needing to use or get something out of the bathroom when i’ve only just got in.
What about you, have you ever struggled with feelings of loneliness?
Can you feel the difference between 'loneliness’ and ‘being alone’ - for me one is taking ownership (being alone) and one is playing the victim (feeling lonely). I always have the choice to change my mindset from playing the victim to taking ownership on my situation, remembering that is empowering.
I also find that sharing our thoughts out loud i a safe space, not matter how silly or unfounded they may feel really helps with shifting perspective. This is exactly why I created the I AM group. You are invited to join me there.