Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Going Out By Yourself

This weekend I went out by myself.

I realize that I do this very little.  Hardly ever, in fact.  Going out by myself is something that I have honestly never done a ton. 

As a child, I always went out with my parents.

As a teenager, I went out with my friends.

In college I went out more alone than I ever had before, but it was still most often with a friend or roommate or combination of these.

As an adult I've always gone out with my husband or my kids.

I don't get a lot of time with just me.

I'm trying to do it a bit more.  I think it's important, positive, and fulfilling.  I think you should do it too.

I don't mean you should go out to the grocery store or sit in your car checking your text messages or pick up something quick at Staples or sit alone in the waiting room of a doctor's office.  I mean spend real time with yourself - maybe even without a specific task to perform.

This weekend I went to work a shift at Asheville Pride and then I had three hours on my own.  This happens sometimes because our family only has one car, so when events happen simultaneously, one of us often has to wait somewhere.  So I walked around Pride awhile alone and did things that I wanted to do.

This is a novelty.  I didn't have to do anything specific.  I just got to go where I wanted to and pick up the things I wanted to and engage with the people I wanted to.  When I was finished at Pride with everything I wanted to do, I left and walked down the street.

I was hungry, so I went to a restaurant I wanted to go to.  It was a really cushy Indian place downtown.  I went in by myself and asked for a table for one and ordered what I wanted to and didn't have to worry about whether or not the other person had enough money or I was eating the right thing or I was being too classy or too poverty stricken.  I ordered my stuff.  I ate it and enjoyed it.  I left a tip on my own terms.

While I was there, I noticed another woman out by herself.  We exchanged small smiles and then went back to eating our food and thinking thoughts and staring out of the window. 

After I ate I left.  I went to the bathroom and didn't worry if anyone was inconvenienced.

I went to the used book store and looked at the things I wanted to look at and spent no money because I didn't feel like I loved anything enough and I read some books on the floor and then put them back. 

I went to the new book store and bought something and then tried to read it but the coffee shop inside the bookstore was too loud, so I went to the library and read there.

There were tons of people by themselves at the library.

I sat next to a guy who had a huge stack of library-owned CDs that he was listening to in his computer.  I imagined he'd been there all day, just listening to free music.  I wondered if he was stealing it.  I figured the answer was probably yes. I thought it was pretty genius, honestly. 

When all of that was done and the library was closing for the day, I walked the 2.6 miles from the library to the show in which I was performing that night.  People offered me rides but I declined because by this point I was far too used to doing everything on my own terms to sit in the passenger seat of someone's car.  I looked at the leaves.  I talked to God.  I ranted about things that were bothering me.  I bought myself dinner at a local grocery place.  I hopped down the railroad tracks.

I re-entered the world of other people refreshed and new and far more in tune with myself than I'd been in years, honestly.

I remember reading a blog a long time ago about a woman who took herself to the movies once a month.  She said it was how she made sure she was still sane.  I thought that was awkward back then.

Now..not so much.

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