There’s a very popular saying that goes “you don’t know what you have until it’s gone”. If I had to pick a quote to describe my life a year into this pandemic, it would be that one. I took so many things in my life for granted, especially just how much time I was spending with my friends. The hours I spent at school and club meetings turned into hours I would spend all by myself. I didn’t realize just how much time I spent every day interacting with other people before COVID-19. It was really hard to be alone with my thoughts at the beginning. Then, something started to change. I began to look inwards and realized there was a lot of work to be done.
Before quarantine, I kept myself so busy that I couldn’t even stop to think about what was missing from my life. Now, I finally had the opportunity to do things for myself and only myself. So that’s what I did.
I see the time I’ve spent learning about myself as me becoming my own best friend. I started to relax and have fun alone, like how I would if I was accompanied by someone else. This past year I’ve gotten way more comfortable with being alone, especially in public. In fact, sometimes, I even prefer it. I will proudly say that shopping at Target alone and then driving back home with my new purchases, an overpriced drink from Starbucks, and my music blaring is one of my favorite things to do now. Another thing I love to do by myself is watching the sunset, either from my car, on a walk, or just out my window.
Taking the time to stop and watch the beauty has really helped me to appreciate the little things in life and be more grateful. Spending time alone is a form of self-care. Setting time aside just for me and being able to do whatever I want to do makes me feel independent and accomplished.
You would think that I must be an introvert with how much time I spend alone. In reality, taking this time to learn more about myself has led me to become more outgoing than I ever was before. My confidence has increased so much this past year. I feel like, more than anything, this pandemic has taught me how important the relationships and connections we have with each other are. And if I want to have meaningful, authentic relationships with others, I have to have one with myself first. Although it’s harder to make new connections now, I’m proud of how I’ve been able to grow and strengthen my old ones, and I believe that success has been a result of the confidence I’ve gained from becoming comfortable with myself.
The most important thing to remember when spending time with yourself is that it’s not always going to be great. Just like the relationships you have with others, there will always be ups and downs. But what you learn from those hard times will help you understand yourself even more. This pandemic has taught me that being alone sometimes is inevitable, but there are ways you can make it more bearable, and maybe even enjoyable.
Becoming my own best friend has been a long and sometimes difficult journey, but what I’ve gained from this time will help me throughout the rest of my life. It’s one of the best things I did for myself, and I would encourage everyone to try it.