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The Importance Of Being Alone

There are certain things I love about Admission travel season. Being an admission officer typically means traveling for weeks at a time, sometimes months. My schedule keeps me on the road about 5 weeks during the fall season, which I think is definitely reasonable. Some admission people dread traveling, but I actually look forward to it.

I’m a pretty very independent person. I’ve always had a streak that made me want to do my own thing and be on my own. Don’t get me wrong, I miss home when I’m gone. Riley, Coco, and Bella definitely make me happy to return home. I mean, how do you not get excited to come home to this?

Coco and Bella living room

But there’s something…freeing, about traveling alone. I get to be myself on my own terms and I don’t have anyone to rely on except for me.

So many people, especially extroverts (I count myself in that category), usually hate being by themselves. It’s scary, right? Alone with your thoughts. So much time to reflect on what’s good about your life. Or what’s missing. Or whether you’re in the place you thought you’d be at this point.

In all seriousness, though, ponder this for a second…

Ask a man to describe himself. He’ll likely tell you some stuff he really loves or his hobbies, followed by something he’s probably good at or his profession.

Now ask a woman to describe herself. She’ll probably tell you something like, “I’m a wife, mother, a daughter, an aunt….” etc. As women, we tend to define ourselves based on the role we play to the people we love the most. Is there anything wrong with this? Not really. But who are you when you’re alone? When you’re not busy being a mom, or a wife, or taking care of others, how would you describe yourself then?

I had a lot of free time yesterday on the road between visits and I decided to just grab some lunch and fresh air. I bought a roast beef sub and pulled my car into a nearby park.

Roast beef sub

It was beautiful outside. I opened the windows and the car door, enjoyed my lunch in complete silence, and started doing what a lot of people do when they’ve had extended time on their own. I started talking to myself.

I’m not crazy, I promise. That time alone, however, gave me the chance to enjoy my own company and to spend time thinking about things that really only matter to me. It was awesome.

IMG_2011

I got to put away work stuff, home stuff, family stuff, wife stuff. I just spent some time thinking about Kelly stuff. I put my all-time favorite piano song that I’ve literally loved since before I can remember on repeat and listened to it 4 times straight through (It’s this one, in case you care).

I thought to myself what it would be like if I lived in the Caribbean. I thought about whether I should run a half marathon or not. I thought about graduate school and how I should probably get on that. I thought (during song replay number 3) that I should really play some piano when I get home.

IMG_2012

I didn’t think about earth-shattering things. The point is, I got to hear myself think. I spent some time just being me, with no distractions. In a day and age in which we are constantly plugged in to what others are doing, when they’re doing it, and trying to be all things to all people, it’s important to just be alone. It’s a relief and a gift to have that time with myself to regroup.

I honestly believe that everyone should travel alone at least once. Stay in a hotel alone, eat dinner alone, go to the movies alone. If you’ve never done it, it sounds depressing, but it’s not! Just think of it as extended quality time with yourself. I promise you, you probably need it more than you realize.

Today I’m headed back home to the office, my husband, my pets, and the wonderful life that I’ve made for myself. And the second the house is empty, I’ll be sitting at my piano playing my favorite songs, just for me.  🙂

Have you ever taken a trip solo?

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21 thoughts on “The Importance Of Being Alone

  1. I travelled alone for work recently and there were parts of it I loved too. Before I moved in with my boyfriend I lived alone for a year in an apartment and absolutely loved having my own space and things how I wanted them!

    Loving how that sub looks and no shame in speaking to yourself 😉

  2. i agree, alone time is soo important! how else do people figure out who they are, what they want, where they’re going, etc? and i know what you mean- there is something so empowering about travelling alone! i love it too!

  3. As an introvert I really enjoy being alone. I also travel for work on occasion, but this past June I was sent to Paris for training. My husband was worried about me being half way around the world all by myself, but I loved it. I loved the freedom of doing what I wanted when I wanted (after class was done, of course) and loved the conversations I had with myself in my head. I only had to please myself, and after being married for 19 years, and as the mom of 3 boys, the times when I only have to please myself are few & far between. But, don’t tell my husband I enjoyed travelling on my own so much. As far as he knows I enjoyed my trip but would have enjoyed it more if he were there. 😉

  4. I actually really love spending time alone. Don’t get me wrong, I definitely need a good amount of interaction with others on a daily basis, but I really enjoy coming home to an empty apartment at the end of the day — I don’t have to worry about anyone but myself, and I have plenty of time to decompress and unwind after a long day. I’m in a long distance relationship right now, and I’m sure I won’t always have this luxury, but I’m embracing it for now because alone time might become a rare commodity in the future.

  5. I am all about spending some time alone. I actually really enjoy long car rides (but not too long…) just so I can have some time for myself. I always plan on calling everyone in my phone to keep me from getting too bored, but never end up doing it!

  6. I love this post! I’ve always wanted to travel alone, but was always too scared to do it. Have you ever read the book Wild by Cheryl Strayed? It’s about a girl who basically has a messed up life and one day decides to hike the Pacific Crest Trail on her own for a few months. She spends most days alone without seeing anyone (and she has to climb mountains while doing it!). Reading it made me want to go on a solo backpacking trip, but I think I’m too afraid of bears for that. Staying in a hotel on my own might work though!

  7. I’ve never tried traveling solo. I have to admit, it scares me a little but I am a total wuss.
    I like your positive point of view on it though. I think alone time is so important for your sanity. Plus, talking to yourself sounds kind of nice. 😉

    And yeah, I would be SO excited to come home to Bella and Coco. They are so adorable. You are making me want to get a cat. We are thinking of adopting another dog around Christmas time but I would secretly love a cat instead. I think my Coco would like a kitty. Or at least, she would like eating it’s poop. Ha!

  8. Pingback: Dreaming of Hotel Rooms…..and Other Fun Stuff | Kelly Runs for Food

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