I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how precious alone time is. It seems that I have had so little of it over my winter break, as I spend every single waking hour of my time either with my family or at work (and occasionally, with my friends). The only time I have had moments alone is as I’m falling asleep or attempting to drag myself out of bed after my morning alarm has gone off. You don’t realize how much you miss being alone until you can’t find the time to schedule it in.
Already I’m fantasizing about the breaks I’ll have between classes, where I can spend my time in the campus Tim Hortons eating broccoli soup and writing. Even reading a book, sometimes. Anything really, to remove myself from conversation with other people for even an hour or two; enough time to do something for myself without having to answer to anyone or be repeatedly interrupted. This is the ideal situation when I can’t escape somewhere even more serene, like a quiet forest trail (usually Glen Major Forest east of Toronto in Uxbridge, but even better, like in the photo above, the 11km Cobre Lake Trail along the Deer Trail Driving Route in Elliot Lake).
Of course, there is a limit to how much “alone time” I really want. I’m not exactly an introvert and I don’t like feeling lonely… and there’s a very big difference between loneliness and simply being alone. I still love being around people and socializing.
When I first started university (way back in 2012 when I went to the University of Waterloo for my first year of undergrad), I was alone and lonely. I sometimes felt like I had absolutely nobody to talk to while I was there and hated every moment of my time in that place. Perhaps that’s because prior to my move to Waterloo, I never wanted to be alone, and so I never “tried it out”, so to speak. When I eventually moved back to Toronto and once again immersed myself into the swing of things, I quickly realized how my previously mentality of always needing to be with someone had changed. Instead of continuing to think of Alone Time and Lonely Time, I came to cherish (and even seek out) these moments of solitude while going to Ryerson University. In fact, I now look at time away from people as an integral part of maintaining my mental health. As you can probably tell from the introduction to this post, I still love stealing a few moments for myself even today. Think of it as taking yourself on a date, not stealing yourself away from socialization.
Where do you like to take yourself on dates? What do you to to de-stress and lay low during your moments of alone time? Let me know in the comments!