I don’t remember going to the canteen by myself, buying my own food and sitting down to consume it alone, in grade two. It seemed that I was always with a friend, or a classmate, doing things together. Maybe I don’t remember correctly.
Although, I do remember that I mostly had lunch alone in college. When I wasn’t part of a block anymore, I rode the jeep from one school building to another without a companion. I had a different schedule from the people I know. There wasn’t a familiar face in most of my classes.
But, in grade two, kids banded with others, right?
It was my eldest kid’s recess time and I saw her through the window. I was hanging out (read: tambay) just outside her school. She bought siomai from the school canteen and sat down on a plastic stool by a long table in the eating area. As I watched her, I realized that she was eating alone, occasionally looking around at the other kids, but not talking with them.
My heart twinged at the sight.
I wondered if she’s okay… Doesn’t she have any friends?
…but not lonely
Recently, I realized that being alone doesn’t mean being lonely. There’s a difference.
I love being alone! My me-time is valuable. This is where I think, write, doodle, plan, and dream up blog post ideas. I can people-watch as much I like. These are the times that I don’t have to think of any topic to talk about with another person.
This realization alleviated my worry about Ella a little. There is
value in aloneness,
What are these values?
Getting to know yourself. Hot or cold? Over ice or blended? There’s nobody to tell you what to order at Starbucks. It’s all up to you.
Learning to be independent and resourceful. Need to save your seat in a crowded Starbucks to go to the restroom? Place something dispensable and conspicuous on the table. Like an umbrella, an inexpensive one.
Setting your own pace. Whether you finish your frappuccino in one big gulp (OK, three), or not, time is in your hands.
Loving yourself. So, you’re really not into chai latte. That’s all right since it’s not your cup of tea. We all have our own preferences. Everyone makes mistakes. All people have strengths and weaknesses. We know the clichés. The challenge is to love ourselves through them, enough to learn from them and make ourselves better.
“No man is an island”, that’s for sure. We need friends and communities. We thrive on relationships. But, being by ourselves once in a while has its perks.
- Be recharged to serve our loved ones
- Get time to be calm and collected
- Pursue personal projects
What is your favorite thing to do when you are having some alone time?