I wake up. Sunday morning. Alone. 12:41 pm. Blinds closed, the room is gray. But I know it’s supposed to be a beautiful day today. I ponder on my regularly scheduled existential dread: We all wake up alone, live alone, and even die alone. Despite this I think about donuts (naturally I’m obsessed with sweets). I decide I want breakfast, even though it’s a little late, and go to The Donut Pub, the answer to all my desires. I am taking control of my life and finally eating properly. I grab my camera as collateral damage, to calm my “what if” scenarios anxiety and I have to finish the roll anyway.
The Donut Pub has an allure similar to that of a diner. Diners were created for people passing through and lonely hearts. Lately, diners were appealing to me and that’s why The Donut Pub was perfect. I order my coffee and french cruller as the Universe intended. I look over, next to me sits an older woman drinking Diet Coke and eating a sandwich: Alone. I look at her and think maybe that’s my future. (Well let’s replace the Diet Coke for Pineapple Fanta), eating alone, being alone. We are each other in different times. However unlike these usual spirals of thought, I find myself okay with this. After a long time, I find myself being okay with being alone. Right now I’m finishing my coffee alone before I have to go on with my day, and that’s okay.
Being alone used to come naturally to me. I spent my last year of high school mostly alone. I went to movies a lot, I drove a lot, stayed in most weekends. It was natural. That was me a year ago. However, overtime my weeks were spent obsessing over what should be done the following Saturday. Like Old Blue Eyes sang, “Saturday Night is the loneliest night of the week.” For the first time in my life, I feared being lonely. I feared it so much I would walk at night. I feared it so much, I stayed in a bad relationship that allowed me the delusion that everything was fine, gave me the idea of happiness rather than real happiness. I feared it so much that if I was sick I would still want to be with people, even if they didn’t add any value to my life besides stories. I always thought being alone, on a Saturday night, or any night, in New York was the worst thing that could ever happen.
Only it’s not.
Robin Williams once said, “I used to think the worst thing in the world was to end up alone. It’s not. The worst thing in the world is to end up with people who make you feel all alone.” This stuck with me. In truth very few people make me feel less alone, however at the heart of it, I will always to some degree, feel alone. Many of those Saturday nights I still felt alone, even with people. I used to justify this with the fact that I was at least out with people. This meant that this lingering feeling of loneliness was my own, and not to blamed on external factors.
Being alone, I have realized, is absolutely essential to one’s existence. Usually when I think of being alone it always spirals into the idea of having to die alone, not being remembered, and concludes with me calling my best friend at 2 AM to ask her what the meaning of life is. However it’s only when I’m alone do I truly get time to focus – to decide what I want to get out of life. To decide if ice cream right after the donut is a genius idea or a terrible mistake (It is a genius mistake). In essence, I have learned that at the end of the day we are all on our own paths, and we just happen to interact with others along the way. Our lives are our own, and people will always come and go. Only in being alone can we learn what the meaning of life is, and hopefully on most mornings learn how to wake up and smell the coffee.