When I lived in London, I used to have to work every third weekend (all weekend) leaving me with two days off within the regular work week from Monday to Friday. With everyone else was at work during my days off, I developed an incredibly consistent routine of not stepping a foot outside for those 48 hours I had off mid week by myself. The truth of it all is I was always scared. I’d never do things alone, I got intimidated incredibly easily by people and genuinely felt comfortable in my decision to not get changed out of my pyjamas for two days straight.
After a few months of watching my poor routine, T forced strongly suggested that I stop being lazy, timid, disgusting in my pyjamas introverted and go and do something with my free time and try to enjoy myself. It took months and the final Harry Potter movie to get me going. I took myself, just myself, alone to the movies. I was petrified that people would look at me and judge me and I almost didn’t go in after I got a sad little look from the ticket seller when I asked for “One please for Harry Potter”. But I went to all that effort to shower and all so I couldn’t waste the opportunity. I was the first person in the cinema and sat anxiously waiting with only the company of my popcorn for the movie to start, thinking how much of a loser I was not only for going to a movie by myself but for being the only person in the cinema. Right before the lights were dimmed two other people walked in… separately. All of a sudden it was me, and two other women sitting by themselves also, who had come to watch Harry Potter in the dark and eat buckets of popcorn. The sisterhood united.
I tell this story because it was the first instance where I learnt to break my fear of doing, or being, alone. It took a lot for me to go to a movie alone and you get a certain kind of confidence in not caring what others may think once you do go out and happily enjoy your own company.
Paris was a whole other level of “alone”. A few of the biggest life lessons I learnt:
1. I am, and now always will be, 100% OK if I have to do things alone. It may not be my first preference, but I will be OK nonetheless
2. Although super delicious, I cannot get away with eating so much bread within a 3 month period
3. I am not so important that an entire restaurant of people will stop what they are doing/talking about to sit and stare at me eating dinner alone. They have better things to do!
4. I can go to fancy hotels, theatres and restaurants by myself and have a really great time
5. You become less inhibited and shy when you do things alone, you make comments to others and join in on conversations that you normally wouldn’t if someone else were with you
6. You can live in a country where you don’t speak the language. Locals may be mean but you don’t understand them cursing at you anyway so…
7. People will comment on how great it is that you do things alone (I guess it can stir up a little insecurity in others sometimes!)
8. One of the most enjoyable things to do alone is to sit in a nice place, have a glass (or two) of wine and read. Slowly. You have no where else to be
9. I did it.
***** As I publish this prewritten post, the news of terror that has striked Paris is being broadcast around the world. My heart hurts for the people of France today however terror cannot and will not win. The city will forever remain as the city of LOVE.