The last few weeks have been absolutely hectic! Between finishing up classes, working full time and moving to a new place… life has kept me on my toes. Recently, I decided to stay in Guelph for the summer (well at least the first few months). It is the first time I have been away from home for such an extended period of time, and with all my friends and roommates packing up their bags to head back home for the summer, I found myself feeling lonelier than ever. New city, new job and completely alone in this new house, I felt really isolated.
I was nervous about making the jump from living in the city for school vs. actually living in the city year-round, the transition felt overwhelming. Even with classes being done, and working often, I had a lot of free time on my hands, and honestly, I had no idea what to do with it. I have always been a busy individual, focusing my time and energy on sports, work, classes, family, friends or a relationship. But being away from everything familiar, made me realize that I really suck at being alone. It was not until I was forced to, that I realized how much I relied on interaction with others to fill my time. Being alone in the house, made me anxious at best. I had the time to do what I wanted, but I had NO idea what that was. This was the perfect opportunity to do something for myself, but I quickly became overwhelmed by this unfamiliar sense of freedom. Why can’t I just relax? Why can’t I enjoy this time to myself? Do others feel like this? These questions floated around my head. I have never lived alone before, and having nobody else to rely on, scared me. For the first time in a long time, I did not have to do anything for anybody except myself. I didn’t want to waste this opportunity, but how do I get over this anxiety?
I see it all the time, people are so eager to connect with others, yet we are so isolated. We are so busy distracting ourselves with social media, work or other daily commitments, that we fail to take the time to acknowledge who we are or what we want. I know that going away to school has definitely helped me grow as a person, but I have a long way to go. Asking yourself those tough questions, requires a daily, constant effort. What do I want out of life? How do I become 100% happy with who I am? How can I play a role in achieving these goals? These questions require us to look inside ourselves, which is often the hardest thing to do. It is hard to acknowledge what we want, but even harder to take control and actually get it. Being in this house alone, has given me a lot of time to reflect on these things.
For the first few days after moving in, I slept a lot. I didn’t know how to get myself out of the house. What do I do? Where do I go? I found myself counting down the minutes until my next shift, at least that way I could have some interaction with people. I didn’t know what to do with my free time, I didn’t have deadlines to meet, assignments to complete, or people to see, it was so weird. I started regretting my decision to stay behind. I missed my friends, my home and my family more than ever.
It wasn’t until a week or two later, that things began to get easier. I realized that being here alone did not have to be isolating or upsetting. I get an opportunity to do things for me. To work on myself, and my goals. It all started to change one day after work. I got off early, it was so warm out that I decided to go home and lay on my deck. I read for hours in the sun, and I was so relaxed. A feeling, I hadn’t experienced in a long time. Nowhere to be, and nobody to be with. It was just for me. Although it was something so small, I felt incredibly proud of myself. That is when my perspective began to change. I began to make a daily effort, to do small things that were just for me. I started going on walks, taking classes and doing things around the city, that normally I would never do alone. I began journaling, painting, reading and of course, blogging. When I took this time out of my day, I felt so accomplished.
Being alone, turned out to be one of the best things that could have happened. I was learning more about myself, than I ever had before. Obviously, I still had friends in the area, and I love to spend time with them, but now it is a different mentality. I didn’t dread going home alone. I didn’t get anxious every time I woke up with nobody in the house. I was finally able to relax and enjoy the quiet. I was just as happy being around them, as I was being alone. I felt really balanced, which was such an indescribable feeling. I didn’t need to rely on the time others were willing to give me, I made my own time.
When you live alone, your time is only accountable to you. It helps you discover more about yourself – your strengths, weaknesses, desires, motivations and behaviours with little to no distractions. Living alone, also makes you realize how capable you are. It pushes you to make more of an effort to go outside your comfort zone and try new things, and honestly, I am so grateful for that. I cannot wait to see what the rest of this summer has in store.