The Joy Of Being Alone

By: Teresa Sabatine, Guest Blogger August 29, 2015

I am suddenly realizing that no one ever taught me how to be alone. I know, it sounds weird, but stick with me here. I come from a big Italian and Irish family. I have two older sisters and my parents were both very social, so our house was always busy. Whether it was dinner parties with their colleagues, sleepovers with our friends, or just a casual Saturday of neighborhood kids coming in and out of the back door, I was never really alone.

In this modern age of constant connection, friends posting their amazing vacations, parties, and weddings on Facebook and Instagram, a girl can start to feel really lonely.

The terrifying comparison trap; me on my couch after already completing ten things on my task list, scrolling through twitter, and starting another episode of Veep thinking, “I am so alone, I have been alone all day, shouldn’t I go out and do something?”

And worse than that is, “I haven’t posted a photo on Instagram in a week, people probably think I am so boring.”

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It is scary, this pressure we put on ourselves to perform, or prove our existence and beyond just existence, prove our value for existing. I am cool, or I am fashionable, or I am funny, or I am so political and informed. What if I am, just simply and proudly, Teresa? What if after a long week of work and web designing and dinners with friends I just want to watch Julia Louise Dreyfus do her thing? 

Why does a night in with no company and no phone calls suddenly make my head spin into a series of thoughts about how alone I feel? What is loneliness anyway?

Obviously the next logical step was to look this up. The definition of lonely from Webster’s Dictionary is:

lonely
adjective lone·ly \ˈlōn-lē\
: sad from being apart from other people
: causing sad feelings that come from being apart from other people
: not visited by or traveled on by many people

Well none of these things were true for me! I have friends, I have visitors, I am not sad. As a matter of fact a quick shift in perspective could turn this whole thing around.

I was going to actively be alone without distractions and I was going to like it.

I decided it was time for a technology shut down. No more long distance phone calls to friends forcing them to keep me company virtually, no more episodes of Veep or scrolling through endless Instagram feeds. I was going to actively be alone without distractions and I was going to like it.

So I got in my car and I drove and when I got to where I thought I was going, I kept driving. And over a bridge and through some woods I ended up in this magical place called Sauvie Island and I spent my Saturday night with dandelions, wild birds, and a family of cows. I watched the sunset from a small creek and I sat with myself and thought of nothing but the warm breeze and the colors of the evening sky.

And it was kind of amazing. And I realized that I am actually kind of amazing. What a gift I was given, to sit and reflect, to listen to the sounds of the world around me and not have anywhere to be, anything to live up to or to prove.

I don’t think we are taught enough about “alone time.”

I don’t think we are taught enough about “alone time.” As children our schedules are crammed with soccer and volleyball and family functions and birthday parties and then we got to sleep and we repeat it all the next day.

There is something quite beautiful about understanding how to just be with you, to also be able to recognize when you need that alone time and then have the courage to ask for it. When the football game is not what you want to do today and saying no to the birthday party is actually ok and lonely is actually incorrectly defined. I don’t think it should be “sad from being apart from other people.” I think it is much more, “happy to be alone with myself.”

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About Teresa

TERESA_SABATINE_writer_bio.jpgTeresa is a TV/Film Producer and Business Consultant who has a passion for cultivating more women leaders and creators in entertainment. In her spare time she mentors women on career and personal growth with a focus on tuning out the negative noise and turning up the positive self-talk. Since losing her mother to cancer in 2008 she has made it her mission to carry on her mom’s passion for helping others into her own life and will stop at nothing to create a world where gender and race are no longer an issue. You can read more of her writings at www.teresasabatine.com.

 

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  • commented 2015-09-08 07:53:29 -0700
    @julie I struggle with the “Shoulds” as well. I try to erase them but sometimes they slip in anyway. There is SO MUCH beauty in the world when we just step outside our comfort zones and routines and switch things up. Thanks for reading and sharing your thoughts.
  • commented 2015-09-08 07:52:16 -0700
    @amanda! What a great story—I too went to Florence on my own and the first day was a little overwhelming but soon I found sipping wine by the river and taking in the museums by myself was somewhat liberating. Thank you for sharing and reading my post!
  • commented 2015-08-29 16:39:57 -0700
    I could have written this. Every time I think “I should…” (Fill in the blank with anything involving other humans) I remember that my alone time is what makes me more me. Funnier. Smarter. More compassionate and interesting. A better human.
    In a world where we are so plugged in and force fed lifestyles and the envy they create, being alone and just observing, just opening my eyes and heart and ears and mind, is an every day vacation.
    Thank you!

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