24 Things You Need To Do Alone Before Doing With Someone Else
Being alone isn’t code for being lonely. It doesn’t mean you’re friendless, loveless, lost in the forest and abandoned. Being alone is a choice that you make, a decision that you come to both when you’re ready and when you’re not.
Being alone is what happens when you’re thrust into the water and faced with the choice to sink or swim. Being alone is the bold force that propels you above the water’s edge and keeps you afloat. Being alone is what happens to you when everything sits ahead of you.
It’s different from sadness and emptiness. You can be alone and feel fit to burst with emotion. Being alone doesn’t mean you’re lonely, it doesn’t mean you’re waiting for a Somebody to come along and fill you up, it doesn’t mean you’re stuck in a rut. It means you’re brave, strong and courageous.
Sometimes it’s what happens to you after leaving a long relationship, sometimes it’s what happens when you leave college and the comforts of your childhood bedroom at mom and dad’s, sometimes it’s what happens to you when it’s the only choice you have left. Sometimes it’s what happens to you when you have no choice at all.
You’re not alone because you’re unloved or because you have no friends. You’re alone because you want to be. Because you want to see the world through the grin and glare of your own eyes, because you want to be your own partner for awhile.
You’re alone because you know that some things are better done on your own, the first time around.
Prepare an amazing meal, for one
Pick the most ridiculously meticulous recipe on the Internet — and go crazy trying to recreate it. It can be anything from a three-course menu to Julia Child’s Beef Bourguignon and when it’s ready, you can savor every last bite from your couch, without pants. Added bonus? You don’t have to share the leftovers.
Order an entire pie – and eat it without regrets
Extra mushrooms, crispy bacon and thin crust… all for you. There’s no sharing in this Party of One.
Explore a new city without a map
Maybe you’re headed for a place you’ve never been, or maybe you just need a good excuse to venture out and get to know your new home, but whatever it is, stepping out on the city streets by yourself will make you feel powerful. Who cares if you get lost or you walk around in circles for three hours? Knowing you can get lost — and then find your way back out — is way more validating than leaning on a GPS (or another person) to point you in the right direction.
Spend the day in bed binge-watching your favorite show
The general rule here is that you should only leave bed to use the bathroom, but everything else should happen while you’re snuggled up. Spend the day rifling through TV series, hogging all the blankets and lying in a sea of over-plump pillows and decades-old teddy bears.
Pee with the door open
Never done it? Do it. I dare you. It’s a little bit liberating and a lot risky. Plus, if you’ve got roommates, you run the risk of being caught. Better pee quick!
Before you meet Mr. Right Now, cozy up in bed wearing absolutely nothing, You’ll sleep better, feel instantly more sensual and you’ll cut back on laundry (hallelujah). There’s nothing more satisfying than taking it all off to sleep it off.
Browse the classics section of a library
Who cares if you’re not a bookworm? You can still hit up the local library and dial into your Intellectual Self. There’s something about wandering names like Fitzgerald, Hemingway, Irving, Alcott, Steinbeck, Lee and Bradbury that will make you feel instantly poetic and romantic.
Pull up a chair and a soothing latte and you’ll feel instantly transported to another time period.
Eat all three meals in bed
Don’t confuse spending the whole day in bed with wallowing in self-pity. Those mental health days are important recharge opportunities for your body, soul and mind — plus, you’d be surprised by how much more food you consume when you’re glued to bed for 24 hours. Suddenly, triple-fisting chocolate cake, french fries and a grilled cheese with ham and tomato doesn’t sound as revolting.
Perfect the touch of your own hand
Let’s get one thing straight: There is nothing more important than the relationship you have with yourself. Learning how you want things done — and how to do them right — not only makes you a better partner and lover, but it puts you more in tune with your own physical needs. And let’s be honest, nine times out of 10, it’s just more fun to take care of business on your own.
Take a long, hot bubble bath
From experience, it’s next to impossible trying to fit your lover and yourself into an apartment-grade bathtub. So soak up the opportunity when you have the chance (pun intended). Pour yourself a glass of bubbly, turn on your favorite slow tunes and unwind with a deliciously intoxicating good book. You’ll leave the tub feeling refreshed and rejuvenated, even if you’re in there long enough to turn pruney.
Book a getaway for one
Treat yourself to an expensive vacation for one — whether to Maine or to Turks and Caicos and do everything you want to do, without regrets. Sleep in, lounge on the beach topless ’til the late afternoon sun takes over and then take in dinner on the edge of the water by nightfall. You’d be amazed just how liberating it is to do things on your own terms — and your own time.
Put a down payment on something expensive
A new car, a freshly-renovated condo, a summer house, a pet — whatever and however you decide to spend your money, go ahead and do it before your next relationship happens. Having ownership over something, no matter what it is, is like an automatic rite of passage into adulthood. Not to mention, it just feels damn good to have something that’s completely yours.
Take yourself to dinner
Ever see those people dining by themselves and wonder if they feel lonely or sad? Here’s a tip: They don’t. If you’re not totally sold on the idea of dining by your lonesome (which isn’t the same as dining by your lonely), bring along a book, a magazine or a Sudoku puzzle that you’re working on.
Put together furniture from Ikea
Nothing says “I can do this on my own” quite like following the confusing-as-hell directions and ending up with a semi-normal looking bookshelf. It looks great as long as you don’t put any books on it, right?
Stare at yourself naked
Earth to males, females and humans in general: Don’t kill the messenger, but please accept and realize that your body is a wonderland. It’s a maze of beauty and confusion, of curves and folds and lips and ears and eyes. Get to know yourself. Look at your body. Love the way you’re shaped, the way the small of your back curls around your ass and the way that your abs give way to the most intimate parts of you. Appreciate yourself before you give someone else the chance to.
Swim in the nude
Sneak out of your hotel room after hours, take a dip in the lake after nightfall or creep out of your apartment to swim in your skivvies without anyone watching. It’s hard to put into words just how satisfying it feels to shed the suit and swim au naturel, but once you do it, you’ll know exactly how good it feels.
Pay your bills
Before you have someone else’s budget to look after and account for, take care of your own funds. It might not sound like it at first, but staying on top of your bill-paying is pretty rewarding. You won’t get behind on payments and you’ll know just how much you need to budget to get by for the money. Having the responsible know-how to keep your spending in line before you welcome another person into your life will keep you both from overspending.
Take a cooking class
Can’t cook for crap? There’s honestly no better time to test your skills and learn something new. Pay the overpriced fee and sign up to learn the ins and outs (or even just a speciality dish) from one of your favorite cuisines. You never know what you’ll take away from the experience.
Go apple picking
Worried what people will think if you hit the apple hills alone in search of the ripest sweets? Do yourself a favor and don’t think about anyone else at all. You’re the only person who matters in this equation, so put on your flannel best and let your feet take you wherever the best apples are hiding. When you’re licking every last bite of that fresh homemade apple pie of your plate later, you’ll be so glad you did.
See a movie
Really love rom coms? Do action movies make you hysterically cry for no reason? There’s no reason to justify your choices. Buy yourself a ticket to a matinee or a late-night flick and order the biggest popcorn on the menu. Douse it in butter and then go off in search of the best seat. When your eyes well up with tears, there’s no need to explain or feel embarrassed. Just let it happen.
Make a unique piece of artwork for your apartment
Impersonate your best Pollock! It doesn’t have to be MoMA worthy, but hanging something in your home that was made by you — and just you — adds a little flair and a lot of personalization to your simple space. It’ll be a talking point when guests come to visit, but more importantly, it’ll just feel plain good to hang something you made.
Go to a bar alone and sip on an expensive-as-hell martini
You’ll feel all sorts of Daisy Buchanan-esque. Plus, YOLO.
Spend the day in a public place people watching
Sometimes watching other people’s happiness take shape around you is like fortifying your own. Seeing a little boy take his first steps, watching a mom chase after her twins and looking on as two lovebirds stroll hand-in-hand by the water’s edge is overwhelming. Stopping to take the time to realize just how amazing it is to be alive is breathtaking. Let the moments fill you up. Sometimes, it’s more satisfying than allowing people to.
Wake up and watch the sunrise – then find a new place to watch it set
Pack a bag with your favorite blanket, a cup of steaming hot coffee and a pillow and get in your car. Drive against the darkness until you reach a spot that’s perfect for watching the sun come up. After it’s high in the sky, cozy up and take a catnap with dawn as your only company. At the end of your day, pick a new place to watch the sun set.
It signifies a new day, a new beginning, a chance to do thing differently, an opportunity to reaffirm that the path you’re on is the right one and the one you want to be on, a place to revisit your daily affirmations. It’s a reminder that you are good, you are whole and, most importantly, that you are here.
In moments like these, being alone isn’t just everything. It’s the only thing. And it’s beautiful.
Photo via Björn Bergenheim/ Flickr
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