Being alone can be a gift. It can be a breath of fresh air, an open door to inspiration, peace & quiet, or a rejuvenating regenerating necessity for your social life.
It shares a root word with that challenging, often painful, barely bearable feeling of being lonely. But of course it's not the same! No, you know that. We've all had the experience of being at a party, a meeting, a fall fair in the country (maybe!) and feeling nearly consumed by loneliness. People all around, people looking into your eyes, people next to you on the ferris wheel, nonetheless you feel a longing for someone/something/somewhere that's just not there.
Loneliness might be your first stop on the journey towards experimenting with being alone. At the end of a much loved relationship, when no one's available to hangout, or you've finished the final episode of Friends and there's nothing left to watch on Netflix, maybe you're filled with that aching, empty feeling of being lonely. You're dissatisfied with your current situation and you look outwards to your external environment to fill the void, but for whatever reason it's not available.* Seize the moment! You're alone (or you could be if you left that fair you're having an awful time at)! There's magic in being alone.
How to find the magic in being alone
1) Get creative
Seriously, this is the best thing I have to offer you. Pick up your guitar, a pen, a paintbrush, magazines and a pair of scissors, put on a record and your old tap shoes, MAKE SOMETHING! Build a fort out of your couch! Write, direct, + cast yourself in a short film! Make a very elaborate dessert for one! We are all creative souls, though lots of us are trapped in the land of Monotony and Low Self-Esteem. You are capable of making stuff, and the act of making is so surprisingly full of joy & satisfaction, that even if nothing comes out of it, maybe even especially if nothing comes of it, it is so utterly worth it.
2) Go for a walk
Aimlessly. Not to run an errand but just to walk. Examine the tops of buildings, notice the birds, listen to an audiobook, a song, an album, nothing, put your hands in your pockets and stroll.
3) Take yourself out on a date
If you've never done this before, it's kind of a must. Options include: exploring a part of the city you've never been to, going to a museum and slowly wandering, going to a subtitled film in a language you don't know, dinner + a drink, yoga + a pricey juice, anything your little heart desires! Get dressed up and treat yourself like the incredible babe you are.
4) Try community acupuncture
Or something else like it! I'm biased, of course, but as a person who was a user of community acupuncture long before being a practitioner, I have to say that it is a great way to enjoy being alone, especially if actually being alone is pretty uncomfortable for you. The practitioner does a short intake with you (quietly!), puts the needles in, and then leaves you to lounge and stare off into distance while peaceful music plays in the background and blends with the murmurs of others having their intakes done in the chairs around you. It's lovely. You're on your own but there are other gentle souls on their own close by. The energy of receiving a treatment in a group atmosphere like this can't be denied! It's a beautiful thing.
*Sometimes loneliness accompanies deeper feelings of sadness or depression. Sometimes you feel so lonely that you know the only thing that will help is not to be alone. In those moments you need to follow your instincts. Call your mom, call a bud, call a helpful person on a helpline who can help you with that.