I love spending time alone.
As long as it doesn’t involve me leaving my house.
Whenever Mark wants to go somewhere where I know we can expect crowds I always tell him: “but… but there are people there and I’ll have to interact and stuff“. It’s become somewhat of a running joke in my family. We’d go out to dinner and someone will suddenly look at me and say “Paula! I see people!”
So yeah, I’m a bit (or a lot) of an introvert. I like having people over once in a while, but after a couple of hours, I am usually ready for my alone time. I just feel like I can’t function well if I don’t get enough alone time during the week.
At the same time though, I rarely do things alone. I have my little rituals where I read, or make dinner just for myself, or try to pick up the violin again. BUT I don’t often go out and do or try new things, all by myself.
A few weeks ago my husband was away on Saturday and as much as I love him, I had the best day ever. I went to IKEA to pick up a new desk and when I got home I went into a cleaning mode. I gave Blu a bath, did a shit ton of laundry folding, played HIMYM in the background, burned my favorite candle, had a glass of wine and put the desk together. I think it was the first piece of furniture I actually put together myself. I was literally putting the last piece when I heard Mark’s truck pull in the driveway- I was so desperate to finish it before he got home. When he came upstairs he couldn’t believe that I not only got the desk but also put it together myself. I know that this seems like such a small, stupid thing, but to me, it felt like an accomplishment. My husband is always there for me to do those things- we’ve been together since I was 17 so it felt cool to do something on my own. Even when it’s something that’s that small and stupid like buying a desk and putting it together.
I was talking to someone a while ago and I remember myself saying “If I didn’t leave my house for the rest of my life, I’d probably be happy“. As soon as I heard myself say that, I thought “wow, that’s scary“. What scared me even more, was when the person I was talking to said: “yeah, you probably would.. you hate doing things… because.. you know.. people and stuff“.
That conversation made me think and it’s what pushed me to do and try new things all by myself. I remembered how terrified I was when I first drove through New York City by myself, went for a long walk alone when I didn’t sleep all night before going alone to Boston and presenting my research at a conference back in college. All those things scared me a little (or a lot), but afterward, I always felt amazing and almost as if I accomplished something huge.
Doing things alone can teach you a lot about yourself, especially when you try something you don’t necessarily feel comfortable doing. I, for one, learned that I’m braver than I give myself credit for. Even when you already spend a lot of time alone, trying something new can be a little scary, but also very rewarding. You can find something you really enjoy doing or discover a talent you never knew you had.
Do you like spending time alone? What’s your favorite thing to do?