Going it alone
In todays busy world, its a given, that at certain times activities you need to part-take in will be conducted alone. To some of us, the chance to have some much needed ‘me time’ is a blessing, to others, the thoughts of this leaves them in a panic. It is impossible to have someone there to do everything with you, even if they are a partner or spouse, they will ultimately have prior engagements and this leaves you little lady to fend for yourself. In honesty this blog post has been brought on in part with the recent urge to leave it all behind and indulge my inner back packer. Thats right, I'm considering leaving the London life behind for awhile and head travelling across this globe we call home. As I would be travelling alone, it has forced me to be completely honest with myself in what I am prepared to do alone and what I will have to grow accustom too. So heres the clincher. What are you willing to do alone? I have complied a short list of what I think are the standard activities in life that can be done numero uno, some straight forward, some will leave shivers in your spin. Lets see how many we are comfortable with shall we? Lets begin.
This is a easy one to begin with. Some people simply need a partner in crime for this, some don't. I can safely say i do not. Often i find having someone painful as it means i have to act as double agent, not only look after what looks good on me, but also what looks good on them. This can either be great fun like a giant dress up game if the person is willing, or down right annoying if they don't take any of your advice. For myself I prefer to buy clothes for myself alone. All I need is my iPod and I'm bopping along happily looking for clothes ‘need any help sir?’ says the nearest sales assistant, ‘no feck off I'm fine, god you are ruining my vibe’. If someone is there it can only be the those inside my inner circle, aka, the best friends. No one wants someone there playing devils advocate when shopping, ‘ would you really spend that much on that? ‘You would wear that? It looks like a bed sheet’. Shut up. keep your opinions to your self. Horrible isn’t it? Think this one is settled for me. I can certainly do this all alone.
Eating out Lunch and Dinner
Some people simply cannot dine alone. I was one of them people. when I was 16. Now I do not give a dam. I will roll into a restaurant and ask for a table for one with pride I tell you. Who cares its just food. Should I go hungry because there is no one around to have lunch with? A lot of people get in there own head about something as silly as being seen eating alone, ‘oh everyone will think I am some sad case with no friends forced to eat alone’. Or they will think there is another paying customer who is in need of nourishment. Some people will only eat alone in certain scenarios, travelling - well everyone else in the airport is eating alone. On lunch from work, the usual. It takes a person who is completely comfortable in there own company to dine alone. Im taking, table service, ordering courses alone, not ordering a Subway and leaving. Its not that hard, just bring a book, in fact I enjoy it. Obviously I do like to dine with friends preferably but it does not stop me. Dinner for one? Don’t mind if i do. Time to catch up on my murder mystery novel.
When I was younger, I found it trilling almost exotic, to be the person who had to catch a flight alone. Almost 4 years of living in London, and always being the person catching the flight from a different airport, i no longer see it as exotic. Just necessary. One thing that has not changed, I love travelling alone. This is for many reasons. One, you go in your own pace. I am not the person that needs to be at the airport 3 hours early ‘ just to be safe’ that is not me, and if I am alone when travelling then i do not need to take that into account with a second person. Of course there is the obvious joke here that I have missed a flight before, and had many close shaves. Secondly. I am not the person who will trick myself into believing that I am saving money when making obscene purchases in the airport. I would rather engage in a brisk walk through the duty free in the direction of the nearest coffee house. In fact I only go into duty free when family obligation of picking something up is needed. Thirdly I have gotten too many flights to care about checking out the shops, airport and accompanying restaurants. I just want to get myself a nice big coffee, find a chair, read my book and chill out until i have to board that plane. One thing about travelling that can be wearisome is when in a non english speaking country trying to make connections and transport to hotels when you haven’t been before. This can be a stressful time, having company can half that stress. Travelling alone can be bliss, you are in control, you do what you want to do. You decide, the method of getting to the airport, which train to catch and what time. Some people need someone next to them for this. Again I will point out, I do like to travel with people, but travelling alone can be equally enjoyable.
I will not lie, amongst my nearest and dearest I used to be famous for this one. ‘Fancy a trip to town today?’ I would casually ask, to lure them in. ‘Oh ok - lets go’. ‘Great I just need to visit the tax office, then call into my Mothers work to drop off a letter, then I have to go get a hair cut, then part-take in the mini marathon. Here are you’re running shoes - lets go!’. In my defence, I was like 14 and no one wanted to do anything without a buddy when you were that age. Especially not me, I was a very insecure child. (Oh how i have blossomed). These days, taking someone without during these tasks, would just add time I do not have. Also no adult wants to come to the dry cleaners that bit further away but its cheaper and the staff are really nice. Moving to London a few years back was a big eye opener for me. All the things you need to do to set up a life in a different country, you have to do alone. Now I can do it all without someone holding my hand. I guess that is what makes a grown up. Although i do enjoy holding hands. Not with strangers because that would be weird.
Who wants to go to a exhibit show casing the enlightening period of london from the 1880s onwards? Thats right, not one of my friends probably. So why not go alone? If you waited for a friend to go to any exhibition, art show, show case, gig,you would be waiting a long time. When I first moved over to London ( I am mentioning that a lot in this post aren't I?) I had a lot of free time on my hands - ( didn’t really have people to hang out with) and so I started to make my way across the great city and see what I wanted to see. Friends would come and go on many of these visits, some stick in my head for ever, like the abandoned illegal surgery that was found upstairs behind london bridge station from the 1800’s that i saw with Sarah, that was a scary. Others like the Wedding dress show I saw with Jessica in the V&A will stand out for being underwhelming. One of my favourite things to do in London is go to the Great British Museum and go on a audio tour. There are fantastic exhibits on the likes of Ancient Egypt as myself and Sínead once frequently on a Saturday afternoon. This one is interchangeable. Half of me would love the company of my best friend Sínead, just so i can turn to her and give her the eye when something is amusing, but I am also happy to go it alone. I will just text her immediately to relay the joke.
Ask a group of 5 people this questions, expect a wide range of answers. For some people its built into them, a trip to the cinema, is for two or more people. Its what your grow up with. Its almost as if its conditioning. They don’t exactly advertise the cinema as something to do along. Even in movies, they always depict someone sad, desperate and lonely in the cinema on there own, possibly after a break up from a traumatic relationship. That is not the case. I will admit, i had not ever frequented the moving pictures alone, until recently. Spurred on, by the recent success of my besty, I took advantage of day time prices. It was refreshing. Of course I did arrive in a disguise, 90’s business woman suit, glasses with a hanging moustache. I jest. Why the hell should you wait to see a film if only your friends want to see it? Feck that, head away into the cinema yourself, you wont regret it.
I prefer to go it alone. While others cannot do it without company. Some people need to motivation of others, while others find other’s company distracting. I am in the middle on this one. As the chief exercise tool I use most is running, this activity is best done alone. Running with others would be very annoying, you would have to slow down your pace, take your head phones out constantly to hear what they were saying about the group of boys playing football in the park. The nike plus app would constantly be saying ‘ pausing workout’ in your ear. No don't pause you bitch i barely slowed down, take count, take fecking count!’. No no no, running is a solo activity. I need this time alone. The gym, I do not mind doing this with someone, its nice to have company here, to chat and to help with the equipment that I generally have no idea how to use. You can tell I don't go to the gym a-lot. ( who needs to with this body eh?) . If I have too, I could do this alone. Its about confidence, most people going to the gym like having someone with them as it adds safety. Someone to scoff to about to about how serious everyone else is. That does sound fun.
Checking In Hotels, and Hostels
Given we all work, from time to time, I know many of you have had to travel for work. Staying in a hotel alone can be a bit boring, and lonely. Or it can be fun, depends how you look at things. I have stayed in hotels alone in bustling cities, nothing can be better. I have also had to stay in hotels next to very busy roads, with nothing around, that in it self can be depressing. Could I stay in a hostel alone? My best friend is off travelling at the moment and bravely is doing just that. Checking in to group rooms in hostel’s. Imagine, no one around to take comfort with, no one to make fun at the state of the place. You will have to be a pretty sociable person to do this kind of thing. I can be, but you know sometimes you just want to tell everyone to feck off and have some alone time. Hotels is one thing, been there done that. Hostels is another, of course i have stayed in hostel before. Staying in one alone, that will be the real deal breaker. I am confident i can do it. Do you think you could?
Taking all of this into account. Taking a good hard look of the kind person i am, I know that in most situations i can go it alone. Thats what being independent is all about after all. I take great satisfaction in knowing that how far i have come. After all, if your not comfortable with your own company, then why would anyone else? Still its nice to have company when possible. If not for the possibility i can rattle on with my stand up comedy routine to entertain them and of course myself. Laughing at your own jokes is crucial.