Due to several circumstances surrounding my spring break, I spent three days roaming New York by myself. This experience was not filled with your average touristic sight-seeing though; I have already seen the statue of liberty and I tend to be bored by museums and monuments. My short-lived adventure instead consisted of eating bagels, exploring a hipster neighborhood, and going to a bar alone. And while I highly recommend visiting NYC, I write this article with the intent of expressing how beneficial I feel it is to go out by yourself.
You get to think.
I imagine the type of movement your life has is highly dependent on the area in which you reside. If you live in New York City, I’d imagine you would experience a more hectic work schedule and/or social life than someone in a small town. However, everyone can benefit from having time to themselves to clear their head or mull over their thoughts. I have noticed that in America, many people have a mindset of being prepared for everything from where they will eat lunch to what retirement home they wish to go to. And though I agree that planning is useful, life is unpredictable; that’s why I believe it’s healthy to take a step back from those expectations you have and just breathe. Breathe and give yourself the time you deserve to think or to not think.
You will realize you are not the Sun.
This may be a harrowing thought but I find it somewhat comforting to realize that everyone around me has their own life. The best way to encompass this feeling is the word, created by John Koenig, sonder – “the realization that each random passerby is living a life as vivid and complex as your own.” I feel it is common for people to lose sight of the fact that everyone around us has their own story, problems, and insecurities. You may feel like you are the only one who struggles to talk to a crush, gets nervous before an interview, or stresses about what to do after college, but you are not. Everyone comes into the world having to learn through experience and we are all just doing our best.
You learn to enjoy your own company.
My cousin once told me that there will not always be the promise of company. It may be hard to imagine the situation if you have your friends and family but it is true. I think people should love themselves enough to be okay with taking themselves out to dinner or enjoying a walk in the park alone. It is easy to get caught up in what those around you want and dismiss what you yourself desire. I think that when you go out alone to enjoy what you want, you validate your worth and place importance on yourself. There is no shame in giving yourself your undivided attention and, through that, knowing you have value.
You can make friends and network.
I am not saying it is possible to make friends anywhere if you go out alone, but it is certain that the greater the population, the greater the opportunity. I am horrible when first meeting someone and it is a weakness that greatly inhibits me in a society where networking is how you best get to where you want to go. That is why I personally set out to go alone to a bar because I knew that the best way to work towards overcoming my fear was to face it head on. I am not cured and I doubt I will ever eviscerate the anxiety I experience but I managed to meet five people who expressed interest in me – two of which assured me they would be more than happy to help me build connections.
Disclaimer: There are settings that should not be ventured alone, as well at times when it is safer to go out in a group. Please be mindful of where you go and at what time you are out because your well-being is first and foremost.