On being alone

I’ve always loved being alone. For me, solo time is an absolute necessity for my mental health. One year, 2005, I lived alone, with Sake, and it was fantastic. A whole apartment to myself. Ahhhh. I didn’t have I answer to anyone or be annoyed by dirty dishes or clogged shower drains. Don’t get me wrong, I love being married and living with Matt, but my introverted soul craves solace–it’s what fills me up. Without it, I’m scattered and grumpy.

I remember the first time I left the country in 2006. I was 22 and I went to Costa Rica to volunteer. A couple of friends were made along the way, but it was during that two week adventure that I realized the value of being alone. I felt empowered and independent. I pondered life and my decisions. I kept a travel journal. I moved at my own pace. I people-watched as I puttered my way through the old town. I came home a different version of myself–I like to think an updated version.

In college, and even high school, I felt like an outcast because of my introversion. I must have seemed shy or stuck-up, but the thought of crowds and mingling and small talk made my stomach turn. I preferred a night in to a night, almost every time. I’ve accepted this now, and I know what it means for me. It doesn’t mean I don’t love my friends or that I’m an anti-social freak…it’s just that I crave intimate settings, one on one time, or being alone.

At this moment I’m sitting at a table for one in the Denver airport overlooking a busy escalator. People are marching, strolling, sprinting past, only stopping briefly to check the departures board. I’m typing this on my phone, sipping decaf green tea and waiting for my breakfast skillet. My balance always feels a bit off after a flight so I’m trying to center myself and get ready for the next leg of my trip.

I’m off to Atlanta today where I’ll be for the next week taking a class for school. I’ll be with other students starting Friday night, but I have my own room and my own rental car. I’m going to spend all day Friday in the city, exploring. I’m going to take a bubble bath, hog the remote and sleep in the center of the king sized bed. It’s going to get lonely after the first few days, but I know that I will come ready for work, chitchat, connection, and affection. I’ll have a renewed appreciation for the loved ones that I sometimes take for granted jut because they are always ‘there’. I’ll appreciate the beauty of my home and my town with refreshed eyes.

Can you relate to my love of alone time? Are you an introvert or extrovert? If you aren’t sure, this is a great article discussing introvert traits.

XO, Tobi

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