“I had no idea how often you went here by yourself.” “Really?” I asked. “Really,” Jess responded. We were at Avila Beach recently, an adorable coastal town I frequented—alone—several times a week for the large part of my college career. Jess and I glanced again out at the whitecap dotted water, the wide shore, the toddlers licking strawberry ice cream in cones, and all the college students throwing Frisbees and sunbathing. I sighed and the wind blew strands of my hair into my lashes and across my cheeks. It was perfect being there with Jess that day, but Avila will always be a space that feels uniquely my own.
I went with my roommates and friends to play Smash ball, grab lunch, and chug watermelon lemonades on the pier, but more often than not I was on a solo mission. I used to pack myself a green smoothie, a few books, emergency sweatshirt for chilly afternoons, and my beach chair and set off. Once I arrived I read for my classes, read for pleasure, explored the tide-pools, and dipped in the water. I stayed for hours.
I love spending time alone, whether it’s at the beach, in a café, in my bedroom, or walking city streets. I’ve been known to cry to Imogen Heap on long solo road trips, to take myself out for French Toast, or to collapse in a puddle of joy on my driveway and stare at the moon. I’m always immersed in something when I’m alone—books, music, people watching, writing, meditation, or my own internal conversations. Spending time on my own is one of the ways I rejuvenate and energize myself.
Usually people fall into one of three categories: you either reset your system with solitude, socialization, or a combination of the two. For me, the combo effect is best: I require a large dosage of me-time for creativity, inspiration, reflection, and relaxation purposes, but I need a significant amount of quality interaction with others in order to feel positive and prevent loneliness.
Regardless of your social inclinations or the way you prefer to energize yourself, I think it’s important to learn to appreciate and enjoy your own company. After all, the only constant and guaranteed presence in our lives is our own.
Liking yourself isn’t always easy, but I do think it can be simple. Learning to enjoy your own company is all about cultivating habits, thoughts, and interests that you can get behind. Do things that ignite your passions, do things you’ve always wanted to try, do things that make you smile, do things that put you at ease, and do things that make you proud of who you are. Go hiking, sip a latte, take a yoga class, lay on a grassy field, meet someone new, shop, eat out, quiet the noise around you, and be present with yourself. Then be content that the only person there to share in your happiness is you. Let that thought make you feel not lonely or dissatisfied, but as though you covet something special and rare, as though you have an important secret, a little moment of light and love to gift yourself any time you need.
The more time you spend with yourself and enjoy it, the more you will learn about the way you think. You will learn how you react to obstacles, how you interact with strangers, how you handle controversy, and how you examine beauty. You will learn what you like and what gives you a feeling of restfulness. You will learn what triggers your frustration. You will learn how to respect yourself. You will learn how to daydream. You will learn how to confront the fears and concerns that loom in your mind. You will discover what you are grateful for.
Embrace the opportunity to be yourself with yourself. You'll always be better for it.
What's your favorite way to spend quality time with yourself? Comment below and let me know!