Learning to be Comfortable Going it Alone

Hispanic teen backpacking in GA
Hispanic teen backpacking in GA

I've done something a few times over the past few months that I would never have dreamed over doing 10, five, or even two years ago. I've attended events completely stag. And let me tell you something, it ain't so bad.

It started in January when a show I really wanted to see was in town. Unable to convince any of my friends to go (it was a bit of a game time decision), I toyed with the idea of not going. It was a miserable, rainy day, and going alone seemed really rather pathetic. However, after giving myself an internal pep talk, I decided there are worst things in the world than going somewhere by your lonesome.

I ended up having a really great time, and would have kicked myself repeatedly if I had missed this concert. Sure, it would have been nice to have someone (or multiple someones) to share the experience with (I still believe live music, sports, events, etc. are better with company... well, most of the time) but going by myself really didn't suck as much as I initially thought it might.

Since that initial jump, I've attended another show stag, as well as posted up at a bar solo for a football or basketball game (pro tip: going solo to a bar usually has advantages, e.g. free drinks). All of these experiences have been overwhelmingly positive. I've forced myself to step outside of my comfort zone and interact with new people I never would have if I had gone with my usual crowd.

This isn't about not having a close circle of wonderful friends, I do, and we do things together often. It's about life being too short and me being too damn old (not really, just in that annoying way us twentysomethings lament on and on about) to miss out on things I want to do because my interests vary from that of my friends. There's no reason to miss out on things because you can't rally the troops.

A recent article in Thought Catalog (which I had no idea about until I started writing this) seems to agree, and lists the nine things everyone should do solo at least once. I find some of these to be a little silly, but the overall message still resonates. Doing something alone can be completely awesome and rewarding.

I have a friend from college, who I occasionally (okay, more than occasionally) live vicariously through. She's a solo traveler, you see. She's traveled to foreign countries completely by herself and comes back with the most amazing stories, pictures, and adventures. She makes my ventures into solo territory look completely lame by comparison. I admire her so much for taking advantage of doing things for herself, regardless of if other people can or want to join in (Hell, she might not even invite people and just really relish in doing things by herself). I have a goal to travel somewhere solo some point in the near future (a goal I've devised thanks to her), hopefully to do some kind of hiking trip. I think I'll stick stateside though; the thought of going overseas by myself is still a little terrifying.

For many of us there will come a time when moments alone are going to be a rare luxury. Between husbands, wives, kids, etc. we'll be begging for just five minutes by ourselves.

I encourage everyone, step outside of your comfort zone. Find something to do and do it alone. It may be weird and awkward and something you'd never do again, but you gave it a shot and that rocks! And hey, it may turn into one of those epic stories you regal your friends with later (friends like hearing about awkward situations that don't involve them).

In the words of the great Justin Timberlake, "The best part of being alone is... you do what you want."

So get out there and do what you want.