Disclaimer* …Okay firstly don’t jump to conclusions and assume that because I’m writing about spending time alone I’ve suddenly experienced a dramatic break up or something…. I have not. Still happily loved up. End of disclaimer.
So this Easter weekend, while most people travelled to spend time with friends and family, I spent/ am spending it alone in my room in Cambridge. I had the option to be with my family, this isn’t me being sad and lonely with no one to spend time with. This was a decision I made…..mainly so I’d get so bored I’d actually get started on the mountain of work I have to do (…oh look, she’s writing a blog post instead). But I discovered something far more important this weekend that has inspired me, not to do work (sadly) but to feel happier and more content with myself.
I spent time on my own. Like really spent time alone. And, it may be news to some, being ALONE doesn’t mean you’re LONELY. Being an only child I can vouch that this is still the case 22 years down the line. You can spend time enjoying your own company, listening to your own thoughts and just BEING. It’s damn cathartic and after a couple of days of treating myself well, I feel super zen and chill.
Let me give you an example. I’ve been bored out of my skull and procrastinating like mad since I got back, moping about because I have to do work but I really don’t want to do work because its boring. Yes I am aware I am a bad student with no motivation but whatever, sue me. So yesterday evening, before I drove myself crazy, I decided to go for a walk. It was quiet in Cambridge, a rare occurrence, because everyone had headed home for their Easter Saturday evening. So, just before dusk and basically in my pyjamas, I went for a walk. I took only myself and my phone and a £2.50 because idk just in case, and I wandered along through the little alleys between the colleges until I walked over the river and round the backs of the colleges. It was glorious. Not a single person was around and I got to really LIVE and enjoy Cambridge for the beautiful city it is. I gawped at the beautiful architecture for as long as I wanted without fear of ruining someone’s selfie. I sat and watched the ducks and a little rat I befriended. I really listened to the birds as they sang goodbye to the light of the day. I got to really feel and be a part of the nature, the architecture and the peace of an old city, empty as the dusk fell. It was glorious. Apart from taking pictures (duh) I didn’t speak to anyone. I just smiled as I walked around the town, seeing things I’d walked past 100 times but never truly noticed before. It was one of those evenings that everything looked beautiful. As I reached the town again I heard an organ in a church evening service mingling with a jazz busker on the street corner, just out of sight. I heard the chapel bell strike 8pm. I saw couples walking hand in hand through the market and groups of families heading home for the evening after a nice meal. It sounds so cliché but it felt like I’d woken up and started to SEE for the first time in ages. I hadn’t realised what a funk I’d been in.
Its a glorious thing, spending time on your own. Especially around nature. All of the problems you’ve been stressing about seem to disappear and you get everything back into perspective. The world keeps turning as you stress about that essay. The birds will sing even if you didn’t reach your desired word count for the day. The sun will still set whether you’re grumpy in your bedroom or enjoying the last of the light. There are bigger things in the world than work. There’s feeling at peace, and calm, and happy.
So today, I took another leaf out of my own book and took myself on a date to the cinema. On Easter Sunday what better than to go and see Beauty and the Beast (for the third time). I got on my scooter and pushed my way to the cinema, got my ticket, got a drink and plonked myself down ready to be entertained. Of course I was not disappointed. I smiled and laughed in all the best places and despite knowing what was going to happen, cried every time the music changed to a minor key or something just too sad got me sobbing. But because I was on my own, I could just cry it out and not try and act like I wasn’t upset. Of course I am bloody upset, the Beast is singing and watching Belle ride away and he thinks he’ll never see her again. (Not a spoiler, the plot has been around since I was a kid so stop moaning). It’s quite a release just to cry when you’re sad. It’s so rare that you can let it out when you need to.
Then I came out of the cinema to a fresh light rain and scooted home. It was refreshing and meant the town was pretty empty and made scooting more fun. And here I am, windows open, enjoying the smell after rain and feeling soothed and like I’ve meditated for a week. Really all I’ve done is go on a walk and go to the cinema. But it’s so much more than that, I’ve spent time by myself and re-learned what I truly appreciate in life. It doesn’t take much to commit to some alone time. It doesn’t make you a recluse or anti-social. You commit to so many things you don’t want to do out of work/uni/social obligations, why not take half an hour to do something just for you. Go have a coffee on your own and bring a book. Go for a walk. Go charity shopping (I also did that yesterday). Spend time listening to your favourite album without doing something else at the same time. Just find time to BE.
And you know what? I did so much more work after I came home from my walk because I felt rejuvenated and inspired….something 3 hours of Netflix did not achieve.
Happy Easter folks
p.s you’re probably bloody good company so why should everyone else get to enjoy that and not you? Yeah, deep I know
P.p.s this doesn’t mean people should stop inviting me to do stuff or talking to me….I’m not a recluse.