This one goes out to all you single ladies out there!!
Recently, I’ve had a series of animated conversations with friends about the difference in being alone and being independent. Everybody seems to have a point of view on which one is good/bad for you, and how our attitude matters. I’ve decided to address my feelings on the matter.
Views on Independence
As someone who moved out from home for the last time at age 17 – when I moved to university, then law school and then to seek gainful employment – independence has never really been an issue for me.
I’ve lived in big cities, tiny towns and small-big cities on both coasts (I’m bi-coastal, yo!), often knowing less people than I could count on one hand when I first moved to each destination.
Sure, it was scary at first, but I’ve always been an optimist – so I’ve come to the realization that things always work out. and that I’ll come out a stronger person when I go face your fears.
And it’s true, all has worked out. I made awesome friends and had unique adventures everywhere.
Has it been easy? Oh. Hell. No! Paying my own bills, making huge financial decisions that will affect the rest of my life, looking for housing, buying a car… this stuff ain’t easy no matter who you are, and what your support system looks like.
But I’m glad I know how to balance a checkbook, pay my law school loans on time, find affordable-ish car insurance and get the best deal on an iPhone.
I’ve never looked for handouts. I have been (and still am) really grateful for help and moral support, but never expect it when setting out on a new adventure.
I’m grateful that my family helped me out when I was younger, but cut the cord so that I could learn to be an adult. I’m thankful I have a very patient group of friends who will go through my lengthy lists of pros and cons on big decisions. But, in the end, I know that I can rely on my own wits, a bit of luck, and the Big Guy to weather pretty much any storm I get stuck in (or sometimes willingly enter!)
“Alone,” Loneliness and Enjoying Some Me-Time
When it comes to the word “alone,” I’ve found that there are both negative and positive connotations attached.
For me, being alone isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
What I do like to combat is that pesky feeling of loneliness that creeps up when it’s gloomy out, when my friends are busy with their husbands, or when it’s that time of the month and I forgot to hide my Facebook account from myself…
As an often Single Lady by choice, I’ve come to terms with being alone for many major and minor events and activities. No longer do I avoid weddings and fun events because I can’t land a date – I don’t mind going on my own and know how to show myself a good time, with or without a date.
I’ve gotten over my fear in college, and possibly even law school, of showing up to parties or bars alone. Sure, I’d prefer a friendly face or two, but I haven’t gotten swallowed up by flames or melted when going somewhere alone. In fact, I often meet cool new peeps and expand my friend group when I don’t have someone to leach (oops, latch!) onto.
And let’s face it… we introverts crave our alone time.
I know that I can’t recharge without having some time to myself.
Sure I’m social, I love people, I love having company… I even went through a period of a lot of anxiety from not having a present roommate in the picture (yeah, my roommate basically moved in with her significant other and I felt like I lived completely alone)…
But in the end, I do need some quality Mira-time to make sure I get back to the basics.
I go to movies alone even when I know I have friends who’d gladly join. I like my brisk morning walks to work where I can listen to my jams and daydream, and getting to sing in the car when I drive somewhere by myself.
So I’m certainly the first to say that alone-time is very important to figure out who you are, what you stand for, and if you’re an introvert, to recharge your batteries.
Things To Work On, And How Far I’ve Come
I know that I have a lot to work on in terms of my attitude, but this much I know. I will never be “alone” since I have an amazing network of friends and family. Even on days when I don’t see them, I know that I can always reach out to someone who cares about me.
However, I have figured out that I am not meant to live alone. And I don’t think that’s a sign of weakness, I do think it’s just knowing that while I need time to myself, I prefer having a life that’s enhanced by good friendships and sharing. I’ve learned that my stubborn self will become completely inflexible if I live alone. Nothing is better for a stubborn person than living with others and learning how to compromise.
Living with messy friends has helped me get over pretty OCD tendencies. I learned about different types of cuisines, opened myself to new experiences and learned new habits. I even learned how to stand up for myself and when to back down. All good things.
And even though I’m certainly not ready to move in with a significant other quite yet, I am sure that living with people I’ve enjoyed, some I’ve enjoyed a little bit less, and some who have become like sisters, has prepared me to be a better “forever” roommate.
On a related note, if you’re living alone for the first time, HelloGiggles put out an excellent piece on the topic here.
Share your thoughts on being alone, being independent and whether or not loneliness ever comes in to play.
Please comment, share your thoughts and let me know what you think. Please help me keep this a positive forum, though. I am so excited for some debate, but let’s respect each other please. I reserve the right to monitor and delete inappropriate posts. Thanks in advance!