Me , myself and I

Me, myself and I

I do not consider myself an introvert but rather an extrovert who gladly embraces some of the introverts’ traits. My social and communication skills are pretty developed and visibly present. I like chatting, laughing heartily, gesturing and touching friends and acquaintances- a very Greek characteristic of mine- scheduling dinner or drinks dates, and generally being in touch. 

What many people do not know about me is that I adore being alone. I have an equally great time alone, sometimes even a better one than being surrounded by people, no matter how great these might be. In fact, quite frequently, I reject invitations to social meetings and activities to spend time with myself. 

One too many times, have I been at a party wondering what I was doing there and banging my head on the wall that I did not skip the event while reminiscing the beautiful times I have at home in the company of a good book or takeout. 

I used to feel bad for opting for aloneness over hanging out with friends. I was under the erroneous impression that I should work more on my social skills, be open to invitations, collect experiences. I used to observe all these people effortlessly enjoying the company of others in a crowded and loud bar and felt even worse for my introverted side.

Nonetheless, this guilt has

disappeared over the last few

years. I highly value my alone time.

Indeed, I am great friends with myself and enjoy my company. It is a relationship that has been building over the years and has now reached the point where I intentionally set aside time for me, myself and I. What do I do during these one-to-one dates? 

Why, looking after my well-being, of course! I like treating myself. I exercise a lot. I read constantly. I actually organise slots during my day for reading. Usually, I read two books in the same period, one fictional and one non-fiction, which requires more concentration and often note-taking. I listen to the podcasts I have downloaded on my app. I relish doing my nails or beauty masks. I clean and tidy up. Strange as it may sound, cleaning my flat and keeping it in order helps me concentrate and think. I mostly do this while listening to one of my podcasts. I roam around the apartment, searching for new and different ways to better rearrange my stuff to reflect my personality and sense of style. I take naps-I adore taking naps when possible. I play with Winston, our dog.

Since our family’s latest addition, our son, I have been enjoying long walks outside with the stroller. I have even found ways to exercise while holding him. Overall, my alone time is never a dull time.

There are some red flags, which over the years, I have recognised as indicators of an innate necessity to set aside time for me:

  • I feel irritated and short-tempered by unimportant things, people or situations. I catch myself getting annoyed by behaviours or settings that otherwise would not bother me.
  • My concentration is poor. Several times, I have caught myself mentally wandering in places while someone is talking to me, during a night out. For me that is a huge sign showing me that I should not be there. 
  • Anxiety. I feel uneasy and stressed surrounded by a crowd. Normally this is not a problem, but when I am lacking of alone time, a busy restaurant or bar can trigger the feeling of nervousness and mental pressure. The need to escape and return to my safe and calm place.

I cherish self-exploration and have been intentionally practising this over the last years. I need to know my boundaries, what brings me joy, my stress triggers, my antidotes to melancholy, sadness and depression. I want to know when to stop and when I should push myself outside my comfort zone. During my alone time, I have the space and opportunity to reflect on my practices and choices, compose myself from what brings me down and work on becoming a better version of myself. 

Indeed, it is due to my alone time that I am much more present in social gatherings and a better friend and companion to my friends when it comes to it. Because when I choose to spend time with people, my focus is entirely on them and the moments we share rather than my yearning to be somewhere else.

Ultimately, one should learn and acknowledge the limits of their alone time, for there is no particular recipe for everybody. What matters is that we make time to work on ourselves and learn more about how we can improve our lifestyle to achieve serenity and fulfilment in our life journey.

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