As Three Dog Night once wisely put, “One is the loneliest number.” But is it really? I have spent a week entirely alone in an unfamiliar city (my mom and dad left me last Tuesday evening to head back to Ohio) and I don’t really feel that alone. But, at the same time, I also do. It’s a very strange feeling living alone in a city–you’re never really alone, but then you are all at the same time. Some people love this environment–they are meant to be alone to harness their true potential. I do not quiiiite fit into this category. Yet, I’m not the opposite extreme; I do not need to surround myself with everyone I know in order to feel secure or happy. I find myself somewhere in a happy medium: I enjoy being alone and can competently survive alone, but for me to thrive I desire some form of human interaction or enjoyment in order to make my life feel worthwhile. Luckily, in a city like Seattle, this is not too hard to come by. Certainly, it will be easier once school starts and I can interact with my professors and peers on a daily basis (and maybe even make some *gasp* friends), but until then, I am getting by.
Like going to college or working in retail, I honestly think everyone should live alone for at least some portion of their lives. Or, on a smaller scale, they should at least spend some time on their own. When I was in undergrad, my favorite alone-time moments were either when running, eating a solo breakfast or lunch, or during my almost-weekly adventures to a local coffee shop that I love. It was great to just spend a few hours by myself, in my own thoughts, and being my own intrinsic, pure self. I cherished these moments, and would suggest them for anyone. It’s important for everyone to learn to spend at least a little time by themselves. It is truly a great period for personal growth.
After spending a week essentially alone, I have found, in myself, a few tendencies that I will share with you. Maybe these are akin to something you find yourself doing in your own life, or maybe they will help you in your alone moments.
- I spend most of my days searching for some form of human interaction. Some times I am just not in the mood to spend the entire day with myself, so I go out in search of people to just be around. Luckily, this city provides me many opportunities and spaces to do this. Some of my favorite days I will just go sit at a coffee shop (like I am right now), drinking some coffee and reading a book, taking in the environment of the place and the presence people around me. Other days, I adventure to weekly happenings like farmer’s markets or craft/flea markets, just to be among other people (and of course to partake in some wonderful shopping or window shopping).
- My good friend, Nick S. told me this would happen, and he is certainly correct: whenever I do have the opportunity for a genuine human interaction, I do not back down. This is best illustrated in my visit to Trader Joe’s this morning: I started up a lengthy conversation (lengthy given that she was a complete stranger) with a woman in the nut aisle because she was struggling to find the walnuts. I also struck up a solid 3-4 minute conversation with my cashier about their wonderfully delicious Chocolate Coconut Almonds (if you have not had these I would highly recommend them).
- I play music almost constantly in my apartment. It helps fill some of the empty space that somehow exists even though my apartment is only slightly larger than a large dorm room. Spotify has become my best friend in this regard–their themed playlists have been a huge help. I would also recommend 8Tracks for this, as it has a number of pre-made playlists you can search for by mood/genre. This is fun, as it makes almost everything into a dance party–cooking, cleaning, and getting ready for the day become a lot more fun with my own personal soundtrack!
- I also watch a lot of movies. At the end of every day, I settle into my daybed with one of the many movies Netflix offers. I’ve sampled some different genres in the past few nights: comedies, chick flicks, and a pretty gruesome war movie (here is my twitter blast about that, in case you missed it–which let’s be honest you probably did because most of this happened after all you Eastern Standard Timers were in bed)
I’m watching We Were Soldiers alone in my apartment because I miss history class I guess. This is gonna be ugly. — Megan Martinko (@mmtink92) September 14, 2015
If you have any good Netflix recommendations, please let me know in the comments below!
All in all, these seem like pretty harmless activities, so I’m certainly not complaining.