“Being alone is better than being with people who don’t care or make an effort to be with you and encourage you…”
― Nourhan Mamdouh
When I was invited to go on a biking trip and could not make it because I had visitors in town, my friend said: “OK! You do you”. Well…I was expecting to hear something like – “OK, when are you available so that we can make this trip together?”
That response made me upset and I honestly considered it rude. Only after being immersed in the American culture for some time, I was able to embrace the individualism concept. I come from the collectivist society where individualism is not understood. It is considered weird and boring to do things on your own. Your plans evolve around a group or a friend. “We and us” stand before “I and me”.
Five years ago, I couldn’t even imagine doing anything solo. Don’t take me wrong, I have friends (or people to do activities with). It is that one day I just got tired of constantly relying on other people’s schedules to do things with me. I found myself constantly stressed searching for a human being to go on bike rides, trips and hikes with. Another issue I had was that other people were not willing to change their plans to involve me because what mattered most is that the timing suited them and “you just have to do you”.
I could not keep doing that. I had to start making my own plans. My fear of missing out was totally not helping me either… And if noone is able to join, I just had to go on my own. I cannot believe the amount of opportunities that I missed. I had to learn how to do things on my own!
It started from one bike ride. It felt awful. It felt lonely. Then, I did my first solo hike. The whole way, I was afraid that there was a mountain lion was going to attack me from behind. Then, I went on a ski trip on my own. I was actually proud of myself by then! Last spring, I went to England by myself. And I had a great trip! Was it scary still? Yes! But practice makes it perfect!
if you cannot enjoy your solitude, then something is not right. I had to learn to enjoy to be with myself. I had to learn to do things on my own and at the end, it was very freeing to me. I felt ownership. I did not depend on anyone’s schedule. I became more self confident.