Friday, March 8, 2013

365 Days of Happy - Day 67

If you've been keeping up with my blog, you know I'm a bit of a hermit. A bit of an introvert. I'm not ashamed of it at all! In fact, some of my strengths include being able to work independently, valuing deep, personal relationships, making good observations and being a great listener. I like doing things on my own, on my own time. 
This doesn't really have to do with the post below, which I got from Thought Catalog, but I thought I would share that with you. My comments are in the brackets.

9 Things Everyone Should Try Alone
By Kovie Biakolo

Doing things by yourself can be intimidating and with the wrong attitude, even lonely. But with the right state of mind, it can be challenging in a good way and also very liberating. Whatever type of person you are - social or antisocial, popular or a wallflower, and all the different variations in between, trying things by yourself allows you to get to know that self a little better. Here are 9 things you should try alone:

Go to a bar
To some people, going to a bar alone is their version of hell but I promise you it is not as bad as you think it is. Going to a bar alone is a good way to practice getting out of your comfort zone and you'll probably learn that people don't always suck. You will also likely meet a few people who were brave enough to fly solo. Tip: Smile and say hi. And if that doesn't work, well, bartenders are some of the best people I know as long as they're not too busy and you're not a stingy tipper.

[I did this all the time when I was on Mackinac this summer. Waiters and bartenders would have one day off a week, and on your day off the last thing you want to do is hang out with the people you work with. So you go to a different bar or restaurant and eat by yourself at the bar, watching the tv and chatting with a bartender you might not know all that well. It was pretty relaxing for me. I would bring my notebook to write in before my meal got to me. I also met some really interesting people sitting by myself! You'd be surprised how friendly tourists are.]

Cook a fancy meal
If you live by yourself as I do, when you do cook, most of your meals probably take 30-40
 minutes because you have no one to impress and could not be bothered by the random combinations of things that make up dinner. I don't particularly enjoy eating alone but there is something rewarding about taking the time to make a meal that you put your heart into. Not to mention, you and you alone can have as many helpings as you want and all of the leftovers. Winning.

[Okay, I'll admit it. I've never done this one. The fanciest meal I can cook is macaroni and cheese, and then I'll sprinkle shredded cheese on top. I don't like cooking. Which is why I'm determined to marry an Italian chef.]

Go shopping
Shopping can be a relaxing experience, especially when you're not on a time crunch or have to be considerate of someone else's whims. You get to decide how long you're out, which stores you want to visit, and you get to try on as many clothes as you want. Plus, if the sales person has some downtime, you can make their day by having them style you...unless of course he or she isn't into that.

[For me, there is no other way to go shopping. I would choose shopping alone than with someone any day.]

See a movie
This is another one that might give people some major anxiety but as someone who started seeing movies by myself a year ago, it is truly one of the most awesome things I do on my own. In fact, it is my preferred way to go to the movies. I never realized how distracting it is to see movies with people. Try it once, and then try it again. You'll learn to appreciate it.

[The first movie I saw alone was Life of Pi, a few months ago. I wanted to see it ever since they announced they were making a movie out of the book, but nobody else wanted to see it with me! I'm sure I got strange looks as I walked into the theater alone and cozied up by myself, but I don't care. I was happy.]

Go on a long walk

Living close to the lake, one of my favorite things to do when it gets warm is to take a long, relaxing walk on Sunday evenings. I don't even have my headphones in. I just walk and soak up life. The peace of mind that you get from going on a walk by yourself is good for the mind, body and spirit. You will really appreciate the world around you, and just be in the moment or maybe have a moment to do some much needed thinking.

[This may be one of the most relaxing things you can do. If you find me walking alone (or tromping, with a scowl on my face)  this means that I'm mad. Walking alone is a great way to clear your head.]

Eat at a restaurant

I will say you should try this once but if you never try it again, I completely understand. As I mentioned earlier, eating alone is not my prerogative but there are certain things you do just to prove to yourself that you can survive them. This was one of them for me. You'll survive, I promise.

[There's one time that sticks out in my mind, and that is at a sushi restaurant in Dublin, Ireland. I just got back from a weekend trip to Cork and as I was walking back to my bus stop, I hesitated at Yamamori. I had only a few days left in Ireland and figured I could splurge on a nice, last meal. The picture of my table is at the bottom of the post.]

Go on a weekend getaway
As great as your city is, you might get an urge to leave for the weekend every once in a while, just to get out of your routine. Visit the nearest city or town or take a day trip somewhere and do touristy things by yourself. Getting away can feel so good and just being in a different place with different people can give you a lot of perspective and also makes you grateful to return to the familiar when you do.

[I did this a few times when I was in Ireland. I took two separate trips to Galway and Cork. It was really relaxing, but also very lonely.]

See a live show
If you're seeing a live show, you're probably going to be around people who share some of your interests so it's a really easy way to meet new people. Yes, it is intimidating to fly solo in this scene and if it really does start to feel lonely, you can always skip out. But then again, the show could be so good that you don't even notice that you're by yourself.

[I've gone to three concerts in my lifetime, so seeing a live show by myself isn't high on my bucket list.]

I am eagerly awaiting my next opportunity to just escape my routine and get as far away from everything I know as possible for a week or two. And yes, I want to do it alone. If getting out of your comfort zone is the point, few things will turn your world upside down more than going to a foreign country by yourself. Of course, safety considerations are extremely important here but making new friends in a new place and exploring a culture all by yourself will make you feel like a boss, guaranteed.

[When I was planning on studying abroad two years ago, I figured I would be going by myself. I don't know what I was thinking. After studying abroad and spending all my time with Rose, I don't know how I could have studied abroad by myself! I'm so happy we had each other. I would have been totally lost without her. But, I would like to travel somewhere alone.]

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