Do: Alone time

B jogging in Craster, Northumberland

I’m an only child

I’m not sure if that gives me an advantage in the ‘spending time alone’ stakes – I certainly can’t remember feeling lonely as a child

After all, I had my parents, with grandparents and friends close by – and there was alway the dog to play hide and seek with (he never really got the hiding bit)

And, of course, my imagination (which helped with the canine hide and seeking)

It’s certainly not made me someone who doesn’t like the company of others – I love being in a friendly group of people and am lucky to have lots of wonderful friends

But I do also enjoy time alone – and am happy to have it

Single occupancy

There was one time when I never thought I could live alone – I didn’t even feel comfortable sleeping in an empty house when my parents went away for the  night

Every little noise outside was a potential threat – and even two locked doors and a fairly energetic dog didn’t feel like enough protection

However, 18 months ago I moved into a smallish flat by myself – and nothing bad happened

And now I live in a largish bungalow and am perfectly happy to be alone – while still loving it when people stay over,  arrive en masse for social gatherings or just stop by for a cuppa

The house moves at my pace – busy week and it’s a mess (with only me to complain) – and no one to screw up their nose when I lick my ice-cream bowl clean (yes, you do that too)

Table for one

Being alone in public is a slightly different thing

There’s some activities that seem socially acceptable, and some that (at least seem) to be a little more awkward if you do on your own

You’re in a pub with a friend, they get up and go to the loo/bar – What do you do? Do you really pick up your phone to deal with important missed messages – or is it just a way to feel less uncomfortable about suddenly being a table of one?

I’ve had coffees and eaten lunch on my own plenty of times before – but eating dinner out seems such a social thing to do

Last year I spent two days in Norwich for work and needing some food in the evening

At first I thought I’d go for a chain restaurant – in some way it felt a little more anonymous

But then the stubborness took over – I can eat in a Pizza Express in pretty much any city, why am I not experiencing what Norwich really has to offer?!

So after a quick search I found a lovely looking indie restaurant – and got a table for one

And in a weird way, it felt quite empowering

One is the magic number?

On days when no one’s about I’ll happily spend the day alone – shopping, sunbathing (rarely in this country), catching a film no-one else is bothered about, wandering round art galleries, going for a walk…

I can get things done quicker, have space to think and can set my own agenda

But as much as I get joy from doing these things alone, there’s very few activities that aren’t equally as good (or better) to do with someone else

And some that I couldn’t imagine wanting to do alone (and am amazed that other people are brave enough to do just that) – travelling to the other side of that world being one

I like time alone, but I also rely on the company of others – in fact, I’m almost happiest alone when I know people I trust aren’t all that far away, should I need them

I guess it’s all about balance, and the balance that works for you

(My whole rambling post was inspired by THIS post on Yes and Yes)

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7 thoughts on “Do: Alone time

  1. Lovely. I’m good at being alone – I’d rather shop alone; I always loved living alone – but, no, I’m not entirely comfortable eating out by myself and I know that’s almost entirely in my head. Maybe I should try…

  2. Great post! I’m also don’t prefer travelling alone. For me I just like to be able to share the experience with someone. It’s not just the bit where I want to be able to know there’s someone I can turn round and say “wow did you see that?” to, it’s also that thing when you return from somewhere all excited about the experience but people just want to flick (or click) through your photos and marvel at the weather!

  3. I agree with you, it is about balance. I agree there are things that are more comfortable with company, but being able to do most things alone is empowering.

  4. Great post! However social as someone might be, you can never underestimate the value of alone time. The important thing is having the option of company when you you need it, and time to yourself when you need that. ;-)

  5. bakearama says:

    I used to be good at it but now find it more difficult. Having travelled a lot both in my own and with others, I still can’t decide which I prefer. The freedom to do exactly as you want, when you want, is hard to beat, but then, so is sharing it with someone else as you see all the wonders of the world.
    Dining though, I agree is probably the hardest. It’s ridiculous that we can’t spend the time looking, wondering, eating! But instantly I will always reach for my phone as a security blanket. Maybe the solo travelling is a good antidote to the always-on mobile world!

  6. Janet says:

    I love travelling alone, but eating in the evenings or going for a drink is the hardest part of it. The rest – always getting to do what you want, when you want to – is all good! I find I meet people a lot more easily when I travel alone too, so usually the ‘what do I do at dinner?’ problem is solved pretty quickly.

  7. Sarah says:

    I grew up in a family of five and I really value time spent on my own. Going somewhere, buying things, going to cafés, deciding which way I’m going to go – it all makes me feel quite empowered. On the other hand I really do like having people around and available, I don’t want a constant gaggle of people but I think I’d be lonely living alone.

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