Learning How to Do Things Alone

Monday, August 20, 2018


My freshmen year of college, I spent every single weekend alone. Don't worry, I'm not trying to play the world's smallest violin for myself. You didn't just step foot into a pity party, scout's honor. This is just the truth and nothing but the truth so help me god. So where was I? Ah yes, freshmen year of college. What an interesting time to be alive...

We all know the tale of my first two years of college and we really don't need to relive them, aside from the fact that I had a lot of alone time. Probably too much alone time, arguably, so I had to do something about it. This really left me with two choices, one more obvious (to me, at the time) than the other: make friends or figure out how to spend time alone. All my life I was basically surrounded by family and classmates and then my teammates and then my other set of teammates for non-school related sports, and then more family, and then my friends as well. And then I moved to a city in which I knew not a single soul and suddenly I had a ton of free time that I needed to mop up with something

It started with a walk. I assumed I was only going to walk up and down Euclid Avenue like I've done before, turn around at Public Square, maybe stop into Tower City Center but most likely not because that "mall" quite frankly sucked. And then I'd go back, use my dining dollars on a coffee on campus and go back to my room and read or work on some classwork or just stare at my ceiling (I can't remember these specifics, which isn't all that surprising considering I barely remember last week). Except for one day, while I was on the phone with my mom, I was waiting on East 9th for the light to change so I could keep on my usual walk and I saw the lake in the distance. I asked my mom if it was "safe" to walk down East 9th as it was like, my third or fourth week living in the city and I had no idea where to walk or hang out. 

Once I got the seal of approval from her, I added a new route to my walk and made my way down to the water. This area is where the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Great Lakes Science Center were (okay, and Browns Stadium, or as I like to call it, the place I saw One Direction for the Last Time Together, Sans Zayn in August of 2015), but behind that there were these, uh, tiered cement levels and a little grassy knoll near the marina. You could sit down by the water on the pier and it was peaceful. Since then, they've put in a restaurant there and volleyball courts so it's considerably busier now than it was when I first "discovered" it for myself, but nonetheless, it's still one of my favorite places in Cleveland. 


I think I sat down on that pier until it was too cold for me to bear it. I had a system. I'd get up, get ready, grab a book, notebook, and magazine and would make sure my phone or iPod was charged. I'd go to Starbucks first and would get a drink. Usually I'd sit up on the upper level of the 14th Street location and people watch for an hour or so, depending on how much reading or writing I wanted to get done. Either with a drink in hand or empty-handed, I'd walk a few more blocks and would take myself to the pier for hours until I either finished my book or magazine or just felt like I was (1) hungry or (2) had to go to the bathroom. Then I'd hike back up East 9th to Huron and would get myself a slice of pizza, an order of french fries, and a Diet Coke from Panini's (still one of my favorite slices of pizza of all time) and would continue what I was reading or writing at the pier. Or, I'd just listen to music or try to catch a game but for the most part I went out on Sundays so it was a lot of football.

For a seventeen turned eighteen-year-old who was scared out of her mind leaving home (but was also super ready for it, don't get me wrong), I spent a lot of time alone and was content with it. I loved my weekend routines of Starbucks and Panini's and reading and writing and learning who I was and tolerating myself. Of course, I backtracked when I got friends (finally) and I'm trying to reteach myself slowly. I had brief moments of enjoying alone time every time I visited New York because, well, I had no choice. I didn't have friends here and my family had to go to work during the day, so aimlessly wandering the city (namely, Central Park) was my only option. 

But now I'm 22 going on 23 (is nobody going to like me anymore come November? Only time will tell) and if I haven't made plans, I will make any excuse to stay in the house which is silly. I have the whole city to explore, even if I don't want ot spend money, and sometimes I just don't make a good enough case for myself to stay in and not do something more with my time. 

This past Saturday, I was feeling bad for myself for no reason. Instead of laying down and staring at my ceiling, I packed up my little canvas tote with a notebook and my copy of To All the Boys I've Loved Before, my wallet and keys, and a little Glossier lipstick (this is an unnecessary detail) and set off to check out the Williamsburg location of By Chloe because I really wanted a kale salad (and somehow ended up with an order of half and half fries on the side because, well, I am me afterall). I ate lunch by myself, read my book, left and walked around Williamsburg until the heat was too much for me.

Sometimes you just have to take yourself out for lunch and pop some headphones in to get some fresh air. It's much more liberating than you would think and it's not so lonely after all.

8 comments

  1. Replies
    1. We gotta spend some time alone sometimes but that doesn't mean we have to coop ourselves up inside!

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  2. I don't know a lot of people in this city so I am always alone, good learning experience!

    Briana
    https://beyoutifulbrunette.com/

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    1. There's so much to do and so little time so sometimes you just gotta get out there on your own to see some new stuff :)

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  3. I respect you for working with your situation - I love that you made spending time alone a good time to rest & invest in yourself! And you're right - freshman year can be so tough with all the alone time. Thanks for being so vulnerable!

    Xoxo, Ashley / https://thehoneyscoop.com/how-to-make-friends-in-your-1st-semester-of-college/

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    Replies
    1. You gotta do what you gotta do sometimes! You can still have your alone time even if you're out and about and aren't necessarily isolated at home :)

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  4. This is one of my favorite posts you've written! I so struggle with being alone, especially because I do go to school with plenty of friends - being alone always gives me FOMO but at the same time I want that independence!

    xoxo, Cecilia // sunnysidececilia.com

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    Replies
    1. This is definitely still something I struggle with hardcore, especially when it comes to events and what not. I'm still working on my full time independence but hey, life is always a work in progress!

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