I’m very unaccustomed to being alone. In fact, it’s only very recently I’ve forced myself to spend long afternoons alone biking around, heading to the local pool, reading a book in the park and doing other things you see in romanticized indie movies. This is mostly because, growing up in the city I currently live in, there’s never a shortage of people to hang out with. Even when I’m planning a solo excursion someone usually invites themselves along anyways.

Up until very recently I haven’t minded one bit. Being surrounded by people is what I’m used to and comfortable with. Then I realized, fuck, I’m really bad at being alone. But like most things, the more you do it, the more comfortable you become. The first time eating at a sit-down restaurant by myself felt a bit odd, but now it feels empowering. Yes, other casual diners in this establishment, I’m a complete enough person that I can just sit and enjoy my own silent company. Joke’s on you!

But seriously, being able to do things by yourself in such a liberating feeling. The number of times I’ve wanted to do things and then didn’t because I couldn’t find someone to accompany me is astounding. When you’re comfortable with solo journeys, you can pretty much do whatever you want whenever you want. Emancipate yourself from the idea that you “need” someone to do things with you.

It also makes you feel more comfortable being single. After my last breakup, I realized much of my sadness was coming from the idea that I that wouldn’t do the things I loved to do: go to concerts, binge watch documentaries with someone, check out a new bar etc. Once you realize you can do those things all by your lonesome, breakups seem a bit less sad. (I caveat that with “a bit.”)

Here’s another funny thing about attending events and heading out solo: you actually become MORE social. You’ll find yourself striking up conversations with people (whether they like it or not) you wouldn’t have otherwise spoken to had you brought someone along.

So, while it can seem scary and uncomfortable at first for those of us used to being consistently swarmed by people, learning to do things by yourself is an incredibly rewarding process. I will shortly be heading out on a solo trip throughout Europe where I’m really going to need to use my being lonely skills, but I’m more confident than ever that it’s going to be incredible. And while I haven’t upgraded to solo movie-watching status yet, I think I’m well on my way.