Chances are, like most people, you have already found yourself in a life situation – either by changing schools, moving cities/countries, or just not fitting in where you started out – where you had a shortage of companions. You have probably felt lonely before and were wondering what to do with your newfound abundance of leisure time, with no to very little idea to how to fill the idle hours of your day.
Before we dive in to my tips for making the most out of your newfound solitude, let’s get one thing clear: despite it having such a negative connotation, there is nothing wrong with spending time alone, whether it is self-imposed or due to circumstances and events outside your control. In fact, “loneliness” – or rather solitude – can be a very beneficial thing if you know how to use it to your advantage.
1. Reflect on the past and plan for your future.
Now that you have successfully internalized the fact that being alone is not necessarily a bad thing unless you make it so (regardless of how other people perceive your “loneliness”), you are ready for the first step, which is to reflect on your past in order to make better choices in the future.
Reflect upon past successes and failures, analyze your decisions and behavior patterns which have led you to this point in your life, and recognize which of your choices had led to either positive or negative outcomes in order to be able to make wiser choices in the future. It is important not to dwell, however, on the past; reflect on it, but don’t immerse yourself in it, because the past is never going to come back. By dwelling on your past, you can ruin your future; by reflecting on it and learning from it, however, you can only enhance it.
2. Pamper yourself.
Pamper yourself – especially if the previous step, against your best efforts and intentions, left you a bit emotionally exhausted. Opening old wounds, as well as remembering good times past, may cause you to feel lethargic. But ultimately, it is for your own benefit.
So, to recover from the previous step, or just because it feels good and now you have plenty of time to do so – spoil yourself! Stay up as late as you want, and then sleep in as late as you want; take long baths and use bath salts and candles to enhance the experience; go for a walk; read the books and watch the movies you have always wanted but never had time to before; eat whenever and whatever you want (even if it is considered unhealthy!) – do whatever makes you happy. I cannot tell you what that is – but now that you have lots of free time, you are in the perfect position to try whatever you have always wanted and find out for yourself.
3. Take Up New Hobbies
Now that you have more than enough time on your hands, you are free to take up the hobbies that you have always wanted but never got around to. This is the perfect time in your life to learn new things and meet new people. It is essential to choose a hobby that you genuinely like because that is the only way to truly enhance your life and give yourself the opportunity to meet people who not only share the same passions but who might be similar to you in many other aspects as well. If you take up hobbies that you dislike, you are much less likely to find people you are truly able to connect with.
And it bears repeating: if you come into any opposition regarding your choices, remember that other people aren’t you. Only you can hear your every thought, feel your every emotion, and experience things in your particular, subjective manner. If only you pay attention to yourself, who could possibly make better decisions regarding your life than you?
Don’t be ashamed of your loneliness; it is really an opportunity in disguise that most people cannot appreciate or handle. If you learn to value time spent alone, you will no longer feel lonely in your own company, and may even require it after you have revived your social life from its ashes in order for further self-development and progress.