I am an introvert, sort of. No one really believes me when I say it because I don’t act introverted. Actually, any personality test I’ve taken has me firmly on the intro-/extrovert fence. I like being alone. I like being left alone. I like to choose when to interact with people, which means sometimes I want to be around people but I also want to be able to get away when I need to.
Being someone who is alone a lot of the time means having to learn to do things some people find uncomfortable, such as eating out, going to the movies, or even traveling solo. I’ll admit I’m still not overly comfortable eating at a sit-down restaurant by myself but I can do it. Movies are no big deal, and I get to a lot more of them if I don’t wait for others to be available to go with me! Traveling alone is a bit scarier, but totally worth it. I went to Scotland for two weeks two summers ago. I stayed mostly in hostels and traveled around the country so I spent a lot of time on my own and met a lot of people who were doing the same.
Yes, it would have been nice to share the time with someone, but I didn’t have to worry about changing my plans or taking a day to do nothing but walk around a town on a rainy afternoon if I felt like it. There was no bickering because someone was tired or too hot or I couldn’t figure out which trail I was supposed to follow and had to backtrack (out loud, anyway). Of course, I worried that if I broke my leg on said trail, no one would be there to go get help, but that didn’t happen and a nice French family even lent me a hand, literally, on a steep section.
I feel like people are afraid to be alone. I do have my moments, but they’re usually along the lines of, “I’m going to get old and no one is going to be around to look out for me so I better be nice to my nieces and nephew.” For the everyday moments, I just have to suck it up because what are the alternatives? To not go out to eat? To never see a movie in a theater? Never attend a concert? Never see more of the world? I’m more afraid of missing out on life than I am about doing these things alone.
What about you? When’s the last time you took on the world all by yourself?