Out here all alone

Recently, the following quote appeared on my Facebook feed –

crowd

While likely not ever said by Albert Einstein, it nonetheless got me thinking.

My first thought was that it’s a pretty scary looking picture with the grey mist, the old bridge and that crow waiting for you to try and pass.  And that is sometimes how it feels when you break off from the crowd and are all alone. Scary. And lonely. And dangerous.

So much of my life feels like a break from the crowd. Or at least from what they tell you you need to be and do in order to be part of the crowd. I’ve never been married. I don’t have kids. I’m not interested in climbing my way up the corporate ladder (and working 60 hours a week). I don’t want a house. I’m not thin. I don’t have cable. Or a TV. I probably haven’t seen the latest episode of, well, anything. And, I don’t much care about the big game. So sometimes it’s lonely and scary and I feel like I’m not doing it right.

But then my next thought was how awesome it is to be out here on my own traveling through my own landscape. I’m living MY life and not the “supposed to” life constructed in my head from too much advertising and not enough self-worth. And the more I inhabit this space, far from the maddening crowd, the happier I am and the easier it is to make decisions about my life and my path. Even the hard decisions are becoming easy to make if still somewhat harder to implement.

Not that I’m becoming a hermit, although I am sometimes tempted to escape to the woods to a cabin all by myself. It’s just that making my decisions about my path without worrying about what everyone else is doing (or thinking) means that I really am going places that I’ve never been before.

So here I am crossing the bridge and heading into the misty unknown.  And finding it pretty damn exciting.

(side note – have you ever noticed the large number of internet quotes attributed to Albert Einstein?!)

Is this seat taken?

Over the past several months, I have started doing more things on my own. Sometimes because there is no one around to do stuff with, sometimes because I am too lazy to call a friend but more and more often because I find that I *like* doing stuff on my own!

I have never been very good about heading out there into the world as a single. I like to share experiences; to talk them over and hear what others think. I process things by talking. And, going with a friend is like a safety net.  In case I end up standing there alone, like the last kid picked for softball.

It started with coffee in my local coffee shop. I would head over in the morning on the weekend, get a coffee and a bagel and read or catch up on e-mail or Facebook. I thought I would be lonely, look like a loser sitting all by myself. I was so wrong.

I love it. I love getting up whenever I want, heading over when I get hungry and not at a specified “meeting” time. I love reading or writing at my own pace. I love the time spent just with me.  In fact, I often go for a walk afterwards.  By myself.

I have always thought I would feel embarrassed (or is that ashamed?) of being out in public on my own. A table for one in a restaurant. Sitting alone in the movies. Being that single person on a bus tour.

Turns out, when I’m not ashamed of being single, none of those things make me feel ashamed! Or nervous. Or sad.

They are stress-free. They are peaceful. They are fun.

And, they make me really appreciate when I do things with my friends. Because when I do, it’s because I really want to be with them. Not using them as a safety net.

Sometimes, I meet people and have interesting conversations.  Most of the time, it gives me time to think. To process my emotions. To write. To ground. To feel gratitude for the many blessings in my life.  Blessings like having the freedom most of the time to do what I want, when I want. Like having great friends who like spending time with me.

I am working towards one day taking a trip all by myself. Traveling without the safety net of a friend. Flying solo, as it were.

Is this seat taken? Cause I’m taking it.