I had written quite a while ago about how I absolutely loved my trip to Melbourne as a solo traveller. K did not come with me on that trip and even though I stayed with a very dear senior from university, I did much of the “exploring and learning and excessive eating” on my own. I loved it. So much.
Anyway, this post isn’t about the joy of travelling alone – that is indisputable if you ask me. Rather, this post is about the happiness of being alone. For short periods. Long periods. Whatever.
When I hear people telling me how much they hate being alone, or rather, fast-track a relationship out of fear that they maybe alone, I have always wondered why that happens. Am sure there are several reasons and I totally respect that. But this story is about how being alone is not a sad thing for me anymore.
K has been travelling quite a bit this year. He travels to different parts of North America every month and each trip lasts anywhere between 8 to 15 days. That means, am alone for that period of time. My brother does visit me for a few days but then for the rest of the time, am alone. If you had asked me a year ago if I would be okay with this, I would have laughed you off. I was so selfish that I did not encourage K to take a really nice job (not going to define that) that involved a lot of travelling (in hindsight, it was a good move but my intentions at that time weren’t).
Fast forward to now, I have begun to learn to enjoy the time by myself – being alone, eating alone, taking myself on little “dates” alone, waking up alone and then just making coffee in one mug and just thinking of the day ahead. Amidst all of this, I have learnt to like myself better, know a bit more about myself and most importantly try something outside my comfort zone. I have grown (or so I ‘d like to believe), have found excitement in the most mundane of things, have dreamt of unimaginable stuff and overcome the urge to call home at the slightest instant. I have becomes a bit more of a risk-taker. I have pondered and enjoyed the blanks in the evenings. In those times, I have doodled, read, guiltily indulged in work late-nights, thought of fun stuff to send to my parents to read/watch, written letters to K on absolutely nothing and yet running into pages, thought of my research from different angles, pretending to think of something deep but ending up watched movies like “Main Prem ki Diwani Hoon”. These periods have given me such brilliant clarity at times and made me laugh at myself for being so dimwitted as to not see it right through.
I don’t know if all this happened with effort because I simply don’t remember investing any. It just happened. There was one really long trip of 3 weeks in April when K was away and one of those mornings it happened. I wish I could tell you a grand story but there isn’t any. I guess I learnt to make peace and enjoy the time. And that is a big thing because I like to do my own thing but have people around me all the same.
What is even more surprising is that I choose to be alone. I have a fantastic team here, stay on the university campus and so there are always people around and yet, I choose to spend time by myself. Every time I tell K how much fun am having, he makes a massive mock puppy-face at how I could not miss him and feel all lonely.
This may sound preachy but being alone is nothing about being being afraid or sad or bored. It is about spending time with the most special person in your life – you. It doesn’t have to be an extraordinary experience always. If you haven’t found that happiness of being alone yet, look out for it and maybe even make an effort to find it – I assure you, you’ll be blown away.