Today, I went to my usual café-afternoon-date-with-myself. I sat there for a few minutes before ordering because I was recovering from Dubai’s scorching heat… After that, the waiter took my order: 1 latte and a chocolate croissant. She then followed it up with a question, “Are you okay to sit there alone?” I told her I’m fine and smiled.
I get it. I don’t blame her for asking that. I do know that it’s natural to assume these things. We grew up thinking that we should have company all the time, otherwise, we just look miserable and lonely. This stemmed out from our younger days… I remember in high school, I never wanted to go to the canteen alone, heck, even going to the bathroom. Like, I am not a cool kid when I’m walking the corridors without my friends. There are countless studies about being alone and why it’s a symptom of an underlying illness.
But now that I am older, I realized that those things don’t actually matter in the real world…or so I thought.
Because until now, even if you look like a ‘career oriented-person’, there’s still this livid notion that when people see you alone in cafés/restaurants sitting beside your favorite window table in a solitary state, they automatically label you as “lonely”, “depressed”, “heartbroken”, “friendless”, etc… It’s completely absurd but also irritating.
Well, newsflash! Choosing to spend some time with yourself is one of the most liberating things you can ever do. I actually commend people who do it. And let’s be honest for a second here… It’s physically, mentally and emotionally exhausting to be surrounded by people all the time. I know I love being with my husband, my family and my best friends but I can’t just be around them 24/7. Even my husband understands how I love being alone at times. And it is okay. It’s normal. When you know how to be happy without depending on other people’s company, you win.
Because as someone who enjoys spending time alone (and loves having a date with myself almost every week), I consider myself free. Free from people’s judgement. Free from the stigma. I used to equate “fun” to being with others but now I learned to really appreciate solitude. It’s a reminder that being with me is a way of taking good care of myself and damn, it feels rewarding. It doesn’t mean that I should spend a lot by doing so. I can always stay at home, watch Netflix and chill (and have a pint of ice cream).
Are you one of those people who love going to cafés alone, sitting there with a cup of coffee and a book in hand? Do you like eating out without someone to call your “date” and feel totally okay about it? Well, I’m with you there, pal. I’m with you. Keep doing what you do and don’t let any nosy-body take that liberty away from you. Never let the fear of being alone hinder you from knowing yourself. Do things that you thought you could never do by yourself. Relish the fact that you are doing these amazing things for your own well-being and not for the sake of others.
I guess we cannot change other people’s perception at all times but we can change the way we feel towards them. They may take pity on us for being “that person who eats alone” or “the girl who reads in the corner”, but the joke is on them because they will never understand. You are powerful in your alone-ness.
PS. I made this blog post on the spur of the moment. Like, literally, THIS moment. Ha!
(June 28, 2016, Thursday, 6:34 PM @ STOMPING GROUNDS SPECIALTY COFFEE HUB)
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