Two: Alone Time

My whole life I’ve been an extrovert, someone who gets energized by spending time with others. I grew up in a family who spends most of their time hanging out together in common spaces. Even when I was going through my way too emo phase, I didn’t lock myself up in my room. When I needed to listen to Dashboard and comb my bangs in front of my left eye, I would sit in the living room while my mom, dad, and brother bantered behind me. Of course I rolled my eyes and fought back constantly but regardless, I thrive on the energy of other human beings.

That being said, spending time alone has never been one of my strengths. I remember when I was younger, my mom wanted to show me how mature she felt I was by letting me stay home alone while she ran errands. Little did she know, I freaked out. Remember how I said I was hyper-paranoid last week? Well, that’s not a new thing. But after I checked all the closets and triple checked that the doors were locked, I realized I didn’t even know what I was supposed to do with myself. I think I ended up sitting near the front window waiting for my mom to come home. I might have even called her cell phone to talk because I was bored.

Growing up in the burbs means everyone you know is pretty near-by. Because of that, I’ve always been able to fill my nights and weekends with other people. Moving to LA served as a reality check, after some of my good friends out here moved away for new, wonderful adventures (selfish!). I found myself with entire Saturday’s free of plans and nobody around to make them with. This isn’t to say I’m not part of a great community out here, surrounded by rad individuals. But guess what? Sometimes they have their own plans that don’t include me! Shocking, I know.

Because I’d never been in this situation before I found myself spending my days in bed, wasting nearly all of my time. As Monday mornings rolled around, I wasn’t nearly as refreshed as one would think but more exhausted from doing nothing. Weird how that works, huh? When we’re expected to run around non-stop, we want time to relax. When we’re free to be lazy, we’re hoping for a full day of plans.

Anyway, this past January I think I finally realized I needed to take ownership of my time! Before that, the only thing I’d been doing on my own was going on dates. And while that is obviously fun in its own way, and nobody hates a free beer or meeting someone new, I realized until you’re totally cool with yourself and happy having fun alone (insert masturbation joke here), you can’t be happy with someone else. But I digress…

As most things in my life, this is still a work in progress and there are still some weekends I don’t get out of bed, sucked in by Netflix or the latest book I’m reading. But the difference is that when this happens now, it is because I made a choice to not get out of my pajamas for 36 hours and eat cereal in my bed. That makes it okay, right?

So what do I do with my weekends, you ask? The Torrance Farmer’s Market occupies many of my Saturday mornings. C’mon… Who doesn’t love watermelon lemonade, fresh produce, and precious children running around?  I’ve made a habit of spending a couple hours at the beach most weekends, alternating between people watching and journaling. Sometimes journaling about my people watching. Thrift stores make my heart happy and there’s no need for another person to watch me try on red sequins dresses and cardigans last worn by 90-year-old women… And these baby steps have led to me getting much ballsier about going out alone. Recently I even went to a restaurant completely by myself! It might seem silly but just getting in the habit of being proactive about my time rather than bitching about nobody being around, I’ve been able to learn so much about myself. How great is that?!

To be totally honest, always having your “people” around is awesome. Who wouldn’t want to be surrounded by people who get your jokes, know your story, and are always down to go out with you? But there is something to be said about challenging yourself to be alone sometimes. My most recent goals are: 1) To find a coffee shop or bar, where I can be a “regular.” 2) To go to events, hang-outs, etc. where I can meet super cool, like-minded people to kick it with. We’ll see how it goes and of course, I’ll keep you all updated. Hopefully some of you even end up being those people!

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