Take Yourself Out: The Benefits of Having Fun by Yourself

“Let’s go look at Christmas lights!”

“Who wants to check out this new cafe?”

“Anyone free to go to the museum?”

There are so many places to go and things to see, but I constantly feel like I’m running out of time or missing out because of class work. When I finally have free time, but all of my friends are busy with the onslaught of midterms, what do I do? It’s an easy answer: go out by myself.

Sometimes, I get antsy and dream up fun plans - little breaks to inspire some happiness before I hit  the books. These daydreams may be quick and impulsive, like getting ice cream, or they may be plans for a whole day out, complete with lunch;  but, no matter what, they always sound perfect. They’re just missing one thing: someone to go with. Going out is always more fun with friends, right? But more often  than not, I find it difficult to find anyone available, and my plans end up collapsing, leaving me both disappointed and without a fun break.

This was the depressing cycle affecting my life until one day, I suddenly realized that there were things that I really wanted to do, and that I shouldn’t rely on the schedules of other people for my own happiness. I started by taking myself out for ice cream. Simple, but effective. No, I didn’t have a friend to split the Uber cost or take my picture, but I was able to do exactly what I wanted. There was something just as satisfying about that. 

This opened a new door for me. Now, if I want to go to a musical, I don’t need to beg a friend to go with me. I don’t need to convince people to try out new restaurants with me, just to end up compromising on where I want to go. This doesn’t mean I deliberately isolate myself; it just means that even if no one else is available to accompany me, I can still take a break from the stress of college.

Even if you’re one of the few, lucky college students who can always make plans with friends that miraculously never fall through, I still think  you should take advantage of a solo trip. When you do things on your own, you’re able to really contemplate and take stock of where you are in your life, as well as your mental health. You’re able to really think about your genuine interests because during a solo trip, you only need to be accountable for yourself. There’s no pressure to make anyone else happy or try to seem excited for the sake of a friend. When I’m on my own, I’m better able to determine my own preferences and if I am really enjoying my experiences. The only things I have to judge are myself and the trip. 

In general, people try too hard to please others , whether they  be a friend, significant other, or family. Going out by myself has allowed me to better realize who I am. So this winter, when friends and family seem to be at the forefront,  remember to take some time for yourself. In fact, take yourself out tonight — you deserve it!