One of my best friends of five years just moved in with her boyfriend. They have been together for only a year and a half now but they are so in love. They’re not one of those couples that people despise third-wheeling around, but actually want to hang out with. They have their life together planned out, their futures are so set in stone, and most importantly; they’re happy, and I couldn’t be happier for them. It gives me so much joy to see the people I care about find the people with whom they will share their lives.
I thought by 21, I would have my life figured out. I imagined a life with my high-school sweetheart, both of us graduating together, getting our first apartment, and me landing my dream job straight out of college. The sad fact of life is that things do not go as planned. At any second the person you love the most in life, whether a best friend, or even the person you planned to marry, can walk out of your life and never come back. In those few seconds, your whole entire life plan can change before your eyes, and who do you have to fall back on? Yourself.
I grew up thinking that if I have someone with me, I’d never be lost. I would have someone to share my secrets with and always have someone to fall asleep next to, someone to take trips with me and just share my life with. I feared being by myself more than heights or spiders, or even death. I thought it would be scary to be alone in a room, let alone in life. I’ve always thought doing something enjoyable by yourself was pointless, you had no one to experience the moment with and make memories with. With these thoughts, I have never been good at being alone, and I can honestly say I still struggle with that. I love to give, I love to care, I just am so in love with the idea of being in love that I have forgotten how to be alone.
But now, I have to be alone. I have to learn to be alone and fall in love with myself and make the life I want, just me and no one else. This past year of my life has been full of heartaches and mishaps that made me stronger all around. I do not need someone to make me whole when I can mend myself. I have been hurting for so long and let down by others, and that is okay because it has forced me to fall in love with myself.
Being alone is okay, it is better than okay, it is the best thing you could possibly do for yourself.
In being alone, I became free. I realized that I was so confined in other people for my happiness, that I forgot I determine my own fate. I used to rely on a “good morning” text to start my day off right and make me happy. I literally thought that a simple text from a boyfriend meant that all was right in the world and everything would go as planned because he loved me enough to say good morning.
I relied so heavily on someone else for my happiness that I forgot how much power I had over my own life. I am my own person, I make my happiness, and I decide if I am going to let people ruin that too. In this self-discovery I learned to strengthen my self-worth and that there is peace in solitude. I can still take all those trips I pictured in my head, and still make memories without a significant other by my side. I can do everything I wanted to, just by myself or with a best friend. There’s nothing wrong in favoring to stay at home on a Saturday night and binge watch your TV series on Netflix, rather than going to a party with a bunch of random people you don’t know. There is nothing wrong with taking a drive to your favorite spot where you can see the skyline, and sitting alone enjoying the view. You do not need the comfort of another human to make you whole, another person is not going to pick up your broken pieces and put them together, only you can do that.
There is a confidence that comes from being alone, a happiness in the more simple pleasures that often go unnoticed when we are distracted by the presence and opinions of others. You will no longer need to find happiness in another person, you will not need to always have someone by your side to make memories with. I am not saying that you have to build your walls so high that no one can come in, there are people who are worth letting in. I am saying that it is only you who has the power to make yourself happy or to hurt yourself. In appreciating being alone, and learning to be alone, you will become independent and that is the best thing you can do for yourself.
In falling in love with being alone, you will ultimately fall in love with yourself more than ever before. Through my experience of being alone, I have realized my self-worth on a much deeper level than I have ever been able to notice before. I am not saying I want to be alone forever, I am just keeping my guard high enough until I find someone who deserves all I have to offer and will not take that for granted. So, until that day comes I will no longer rely on a “good morning” text to make me happy, a display of public affection, or a meaningless “I’m sorry.”