Learn how to love your own company, and understand that it is actually harder than it seems. Acknowledge the fact that prior to the real, out-of-college, living-on-your-own adulthood that you are now experiencing, you were barely ever alone. You had parents, siblings, teachers, mentors, roommates, classmates, suitemates, all kinds of mates. You were ushered from one phase of life to the next, always shown how to make friends, always with an adult-you-trusted nearby if you wanted for anything.
And now that you’re (trying to be) an adult, the game has changed. Maybe you still have roommates. Maybe you’re not physically or technically alone. But in a whole new way, you are totally alone. Nobody has your specific job except you. Nobody is in charge of paying your taxes except you. Nobody is responsible for your rent (or your half of rent) except you. Nobody knows exactly what happens in your days except you. Nobody can put together your five or ten year plan except you. This is your life, no one else’s. You are, in both an intimidating and exciting way, completely on your own.
So now you have to learn how to live with yourself. How to be okay with the fact that sometimes you’re going to come home from a really crappy day at work and no one’s going to be sitting on the couch ready to talk through it with you. You will have to come to terms with the fact that your day-to-day existence is not at all as important as you felt like it was in college. You will have nights where everyone is busy except you, and you’re going to have to come up with a way to spend your time. You will have moments where, despite your extremely supportive network of family and friends, you will still somehow feel totally isolated and by yourself. This is one of the uglier parts of adulthood.
You will wonder how you could possibly feel so alone, despite the fact that you could count at least five people that you could call up at this instant who would make you feel heard and cared for and loved. You will wonder if something’s wrong with you, if you’re simply being ungrateful or dramatic or whiney. But this is part of growing up – understanding that although you are never alone, although you will always have loved ones you can lean on, that you’re still the only one who can live your life. That when you’re feeling stressed about your job or unhappy with your love life or overwhelmed with your responsibilities, that no one can swoop in and live it out for you until everything gets better. That although you have people who will always support you, you still have to be the one to navigate your existence.
And this is why you must learn how to love yourself, how to be okay with being on your own, before you can truly love someone else. Because although that ‘falling’ sensation of new love may be addicting and all-consuming and completely infatuating in the beginning, every love eventually settles into something that will allow for longevity and endurance. And this is when you will realize that your newfound love isn’t the answer to your problems. Your significant other might make you feel better in the moment, they might help you take your mind off of things. But when you are faced with extreme stress or a difficult choice or adversity or even mediocrity, they can’t fight your battles. They can only help you from the sidelines – a great deal, mind you. But still, it’s your battle to fight.
Learn to love your own company. Figure out the kinds of things you like to do on a Friday night when everybody else is busy. Read as much as you can so you can figure out what you like to read. Learn how to calm yourself down or give yourself a pep talk when you are unable to reach a loved one who would normally do the pepping for you. Have a show you can repeatedly binge watch by yourself. Find a hobby that you don’t have to share with anyone – something that has nothing to do with work and everything to do with letting your mind relax. Figure out who you are when you’re on your own. So when someone does come around, you can form a completely new world together, instead of simply falling into theirs.