The Art of Being Alone

I have spent the better part of eight years in relationships until recently, and this new and foreign alone time has been life-changing and exciting. Yet, there really is an art to embracing The Alone and it took some disciplined action on my part to throw myself into this new state of being. For weeks there was a struggle with loneliness, combined with a great sense of loss for the relationship and a person I considered a great companion and love but, that is replaced over time with a freeing sense of being truly alone and happy within yourself.

Of the three major relationships I have had in my life, the most recent one (albeit the shortest) affected me so drastically on every level I was forced to take a step back and assess myself quite seriously and constantly. He shook me up and questioned everything about who I was and what I believed. He would ask questions of me in the most sincere manner, he would listen to my answers so intently. Never of course sharing his assessment unless asked. However, just through the act of this assessment I sat with myself exposed, I could see every bit of me more clearly and wasn’t happy with what I saw. And so, I began changing everything. This was completely unlike the changing I had done in the past for relationships. This wasn’t for him or for the sake of keeping the relationship, it was a deep-seated and considered change for myself. I am so glad that this momentum of change has continued past his constant influence.

He is a formidable man whom I love and admire, and will still long after he is gone. But, of the many things I learnt from him, his admirably simple life is certainly listed within the Top 5. Successful in every possible way, he could have easily lived a life filled with extravagancy but there was nothing but simplicity. I oftentimes sat alone in his modest apartment with a cup of coffee in his bed and just absorbed the silence and atmosphere. I can’t think of another place, not even in any of my own homes, that made me feel so peaceful and happy. I now strive, above all else, to provide myself with that space. Ultimately, I will have that modest apartment filled with books, and coffee and simplicity, but until then I am getting great joy in finding small moments of that same content feeling.

I find that contentedness through dating myself (however “self-help” that may sound). I take myself to my favourite restaurants, occasionally a mid-week decision driving home from work. Saturday morning coffee and pastries whilst reading the (on-screen) newspaper and watching people. Lazy sun-filled Sundays reading, or unhindered walks through the city. Sometimes, after a weekend spent entirely alone, I fall into bed and feel as though all the cells in my body are bouncing around inside me with joy.

My next challenge, hopefully commencing this December, is taking a trip overseas with myself. I am planning to get lost in London where I can spend a few days in the National Gallery, watch something at The Globe and work my way through a collection of must-see historic spots. I haven’t been to London since my uninterested teen years so I am certainly looking forward to seeing the place in a  new light and getting the first stamp in my never-used British passport.

This post was written with the help of two great albums that you should take a listen to in your “me time”:

The Tallest Man on Earth - The Wild HuntThe Tallest Man on Earth – The Wild Hunt

The National - Trouble Will Fine MeThe National – Trouble Will Find Me


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