Like most only children, I have, much to the annoyance of my ever-patient parents, persistently inquired about the prospects of having my own little sibling to boss around even though I knew such a thing was wholly unrealistic. But, at a young age, all I could think about was my own boredom and how a younger brother or sister would have helped fix that constant state of being. Of course, my whining never manifested into anything tangible, except for maybe a feathered pet here or a fluffy kitten there, though neither of those lasted too long. After 19 years of existing in alone-ness, I think it’s safe to say I have accepted it, more so, I now relish it. Well, actually, I am damn good at being alone.
Yes, of course, I have my small family, my close friends, and now a boyfriend (I should say that for me, this is very rare, I usually scare them off). But my parents have work and worries, my friends all live at least a 20 minute drive away, and Tall, Dark and Handsome is on the verge of starting another exciting chapter of his own life. So, despite all these wonderful people in my life, I often find myself alone. Most days, I wake up to an empty house, eat breakfast alone. Sometimes I venture out to see people, but other times I am just content holing myself up in my basement, watching marathons of Law and Order or working on my must-read list. And sometimes I like venturing out solo. Earlier this week, I went in to the city and spent a good three hours alone… though I wouldn’t really call it being alone since I was among a huge crowd on a cool day at the National Zoo. Is that weird? Most of my friends thought so. I would disagree. In fact, it may have been a more pleasurable trip because I was alone. I could see exactly what I wanted to see, rest when my feet hurt and eat when my stomach ached. I didn’t have to think of anyone else’s needs or listen to their complaints; no one else could spoil my adventure. I suppose my appreciation of being alone may come from a little bit of selfishness so often associated with the only-child complex. But then again, I’ve never thought it bad to be just a little bit selfish.
Not everyone quite understands my penchant for doing things by myself. Lyndsay, Rob and Eric (my little “family” from Emerson) often mocked me for staying in my dorm too much or not always joining in on group outings. On one hand, it’s endearing knowing that I have friends that care to that extent (and though I usually acted annoyed by their concern, it was… sweet, for lack of a better word). On the other, it can be frustrating when people mistake one’s aloneness for loneliness. To be alone literally means to have no one else present; while to be lonely means harboring sadness over a lack of company. I may be alone often, but rarely do I feel lonely. Why? Because I choose to do things alone, and know that, if I so please, I have good friends and family that would gladly keep me company.