Sep 1, 2009

Being Alone

“The man who goes alone can start today; but he who travels with another must wait till that other is ready, and it may be a long time before they get off.”
Henry David Thoreau

“When we cannot bear to be alone, it means we do not properly value the only companion we will have from birth to death - ourselves.”
Eda LeShan

My whole entire life I have been a, "more the merrier" kind of girl, a "don't leave anyone out" kind of girl, a "bigger is better" kind of girl. But in the last 4 or 5 years I have slowly been discovering the joy of small well thought out gatherings and even...dare I say it...doing things alone.....gasp. The more the merrier is complicated. You have to figure every one's schedule. You have to feel bad if you forget someone. Then when you get to your destination with your, "more the merrier" group you start to realize just how many different ways there are to see a movie, or shop, or eat at a restaurant. Also, don't forget the small detail that everyone in the, "more the merrier" group needs to be happy. I do not like the pressure of having every one's happiness dependent on me because it matters to me deeply that everyone is happy. I know it is not realistic to expect everyone to be happy but it is a hard trait to fight :)

About three years ago I discovered I had enough money and old enough kids that I could actually go places by myself. I mean really go somewhere for 4 to 5 days. The first time I went somewhere alone it was the strangest feeling. I never go anywhere alone. I always want someone to go with me because I love to ask questions and have affirmation on my decisions :) I really did not know what to do with myself when I was really and truly alone. Then the second time it was easier and I got braver. By the third time I felt like a pro, getting my own rental car, "map questing" and alphabetizing all my destinations, staying as short or as long as I wanted at each place, ordering movies in my hotel room, going to the bathroom when I wanted. It was very addicting. I did not get to go anywhere alone these last two years and I miss it.

I mentioned to my husband this past weekend that I want to plan a, "Jennifer alone" trip and he still can not get used to the idea that I want to be alone. He asked who I wanted to go see and I said no one (sorry, I do love you all) he asked me again and I still said, "no one." There are expectations that come with going to see someone. It is so very unlike me but I have discovered the joy of not always having so much going on around me. It is a lot of work to be in a group and I find the older I get the less I am up to the group setting. Oh, I still like crowded places. Especially when I am alone because I adore watching people. I like quiet uncrowded places too I actually am very versatile :) The hardest part of being alone is seeing something amazing and wanting to share and you could but it would be with the complete stranger next to you which could be awkward.

So I am thinking about planning a trip for early next year in February or March. I have thought about Prince Edward Island, Florida, Arizona, California, Texas, Kentucky or one of the Carolina's how will I ever decide?

So to recap...
Being alone means not having to make other people happy.
It means you are on your own time
It means no compromising necessary.

Is it possible I am no longer a people person? No, I think when you start to want to be alone you are in a good place. It means I do not need someone to laugh at my clever remarks 24/7...which FYI I do happen to make clever remarks all the time....yes, even in my head :) I actually think it is a minor miracle that I have finally come to a point that I am comfortable being alone.

I did some reading on being alone and here are some things I found out, being lonely and alone are different. I am NOT lonely :) and The Archbishop of Canterbury says Hell is being alone forever.....hmmm good to know.


mkbluebonnets said...

Yes, Yes! Come to Texas! Oh wait, you want to be ALONE...never mind. ;-)

Anne Marie said...

Beautiful thoughts. I would vote For Texas like the previous comment, but I guess the point is so you can get some time alone. I have been to P.E.I. once, and Jennifer, it was absolutely, amazingly beautiful. I even found a few spots that reminded me of moments from the Anne of Green Gables books/movies. Keep the posts coming!