Shopping alone wasn’t something I was unfamiliar with – on my way home from school I passed through my town centre and so if I needed anything I would pop into the mall on my way through. But I had never gone out of my way to go shopping alone before this, and I’ve found I rather like it. There’s no rush, you don’t have to get dragged into anywhere you don’t want to go, and you can spend as long as you like browsing the clothes and trying them on.
Eating alone is a bit harder. I still haven’t quite got to eating in a sit down restaurant by myself (although I definitely want to at some point!) but I’ve sat in chains such as Chipotle, Five Guys and Mcdonalds alone many a time and felt more and more comfortable each time I do it. The trick is to have something to occupy yourself with; I usually opt for a book or catching up with notifications on my phone. This year I’ve even gone to the cinema by myself – I’ll admit this is partially because I get free tickets due to my job and there are some films I simply can’t wait for, but I’ve found it so enjoyable! I definitely plan to go again alone before I leave my job next month.
And I’ve even spent days out in London by myself. I’ve just hopped on the tube and seen where it takes me, exploring my city. When I mentioned that I was going to London alone, my dad thought it a bit odd, and I’ve noticed at work when people come to the cinema by themselves they can sometimes be almost embarrassed. And I’m kind of curious about where this stigma against doing things alone has come from. Some of my favourite days from the past year have been my solitary trips to London, perusing various bookshops, wondering around Soho and getting to know my city like never before. I even spent a couple of days last night in New York City by myself, and whilst extremely overwhelming I was thankful I could take the city at my own pace, eat when I wanted to, and miss out on what I wasn’t bothered about.
This isn’t to say that I hate hanging out with my friends or travelling with other people. I understand that it’s not for everyone, but for me it means I don’t have to miss out on anything just because my friends aren’t nearby or I’m too tired to socialize. Sometimes I just need some me time to relax and take things at my own pace, and you know what? Hanging out with myself can be pretty damn awesome.