It might be the rebel in me–along with a hefty dose of introversion–but I get a certain satisfaction from doing things without company. These lone ventures have ranged from minor feats (seeing a movie alone, attending a concert by myself) to grander excursions (taking a solo trip throughout Italy for two months). It’s freeing, not having to depend on others’ availability in order to do the things that I want to do.
Most people don’t see it that way. If you’re alone, surely you must wish that you weren’t! I encountered this common assumption when a former boyfriend said this to me early in our relationship:
“Careful, or I’ll leave you lonely again.”
It was a careless, half-joking comment, but the playful threat struck a nerve nonetheless–not because it was true, but because it was so untrue. I bristled at the insinuation that I had been unhappy on my own and quickly corrected his mistake:
“Oh, no. You need to understand that I was never lonely before you came along.”
And that was the truth. In all my years of singleness, life had never felt incomplete because I lacked a person. It had simply been a satisfying solo trek as I took on new adventures and challenges one day at a time. I hiked and camped and took my dog to parks near and far. I took up kickboxing, trained relentlessly, and had six amateur fights. I worked hard at my job and had high ambitions for my future.
However…I get it. With social media perpetuating the comparison game, it’s so easy for singles to feel like they’re missing a key component of happiness. Everyone has scrolled through their newsfeed and stumbled upon this all-too-familiar photo series: He’s kneeling. She’s crying. Now she’s laughing. They’re smooching. DIAMOND.
Suddenly, being alone feels awfully lonely.
But were you feeling that loneliness before seeing the blissful couple’s post? Or did the discontentment set in right afterward? Sitting and dwelling on what you don’t have will always bring you down; get up and go live your life with confidence instead of envying the lives of others.
I mean it! Stay off of/take a break from social media if it’s giving you Single’s Remorse!
Be intentional in squashing loneliness with gratitude for the good people and things in your life. I enjoy my own company, but I also recognize the importance of having loyal friends who will encourage me and occasionally even tag along on my adventures. (Yes, alone doesn’t mean lonely, but it doesn’t mean isolated either.)
I know I just told you to give social media the cold shoulder, but I’ll admit that some of my favorite Instagram accounts to follow are those of adventurous, inspiring singles documenting their journeys. In fact, that’s how I discovered the person who I’ll be interviewing in the next blog post. She travels, she backpacks, she WWOOFs–and she doesn’t need a hand to hold to do any of it.
Now that’s what I call #goals.
What a lovely surprise to finally discover how unlonely being alone can be. – Ellen Burstyn