I am an incredibly social person. Even when I was a toddler, I apparently talked to everyone and everything (gotta love that five-year-old imagination). Actually, one of my parent’s favorite things to say is that I started talking at nine months old and haven’t shut up since … cute, right? Anyways, fast forward to my high school years and I was almost never home. Any free minute I had I would try to make plans with someone or go to an event or do literally anything that would exercise my never dormant social side. I can actually count the times that I spent alone on one hand, just to give you a picture of how often I was with someone else.
When I graduated from high school, I moved to Washington D.C. This move happened the minute the pandemic started becoming worrisome. I had spent the entirety of my senior year alone in Arizona, while my parents were already settled in D.C. But when COVID struck – and I realized I didn’t want to fight for toilet paper by myself — I left Arizona and rejoined my parents in D.C. So, not only was there a pandemic — making it incredibly difficult to see anyone beyond who I was living with — but I also knew absolutely no one in D.C. I had no friends from school, no friends from jobs, and even my partner had to go back to Arizona after the first few months of the pandemic. I still remember that first night when everyone had gone to bed and I crept into my room already fearing the fact that no one would be there. I mean what is life about if you can’t speak to people? Who wants to spend time with themselves when there are billions of other people in the world to speak to? Sitting on my bed with nothing to do but listen to my own thoughts seemed like a big, sad joke. I had always been proud of my extroverted self before that night. My personality helped me make friends, build connections, and achieve lifelong goals. But, for the first time ever, I wished that just one part of me could be just ever so slightly introverted, so I didn’t have to feel that way.
I don’t remember which night it was exactly, but well into the pandemic I noticed I had made some progress. It was yet another night I had to spend by myself and I was tired of it. Time always seemed to move so slowly and I never seemed to get tired early. I got on my laptop, about to put on some mindless show when I had the urge to write. I quickly started jotting all sorts of words down and then got out my guitar and added a little melody. I opened voice memos and recorded bits and pieces until it felt complete. I looked at the time. Four hours had gone by. I had written a song (which will be in my debut album — so look out for that!), but that wasn’t the important thing. The main takeaway was that I had spent four hours alone, by myself, without feeling horrible. I started to enjoy my own company. And it wasn’t until that night that I realized what a rewarding feeling that really is. What a rewarding feeling it is to know that you don’t need anyone else but yourself to be okay. After that night, I got so good at being alone that now, I actually choose to be alone sometimes. As a matter of fact, I schedule in parts of the week that are dedicated to spending time with myself.
This tool, this skill of being in a room by yourself is not an easy one to develop. It takes patience, time, and most importantly, kindness. You must be annoyingly kind to yourself in order to be alone because, well, would you want to be alone with someone who’s mean to you? I cannot emphasize enough how important it is to take time for yourself because, after a while, you realize that you’re slowly falling in love with yourself. You’re slowly learning what your body and mind need to be happy. You become your own friend, your own best friend, and that is such a powerful thing. Develop this skill now and you’ll be so grateful — I promise.