The idea of solitude used to scare me. I think I had always feared being alone and was never comfortable with it. Once my brother and I graduated from university, my parents started travelling a lot more. It actually warmed my heart that they finally got to relax and explore the world because they had been working so hard to raise us all these years. However, at the same time, it also meant that I would be home alone when that happened as my brother was living in a different province at the time for school. I tried to cope with my fear by filling up my schedule so that I wouldn’t be alone. I’d make plans with friends or my boyfriend at the time. This never changed even when I went away on exchange to the Netherlands or when I worked in Hong Kong for 4 months. I would always surround myself with friends and made sure I went out every Friday and Saturday night.
This year I’ve actually embraced solitude and found love for spending time with myself. I started finding hobbies in which I truly enjoyed such as exploring different cafes, baking, cooking, and hiking. I’ve also realized you don’t always have to wait to make plans with others in order to do something that you want to do. If you want to go on a hike, why not just go on one by yourself? I had never thought of it that way until this year.
Another big driver of this was because I had started a long distance relationship. Never in a million year had I thought I’d be in a long distance relationship. It really forced me to become independent and not rely on my partner to keep me company all the time. This year, my parents had (again) gone away in September for a month to travel around Asia. Aside from hanging out with my friends for dinners or brunches, I spent most of my time doing things by myself that made me happy. I would go to hot yoga classes, watch a Netflix series, try a new recipe, or read a book. I no longer feared solitude. I didn’t feel like my social life was “lacking” while watching other people’s eventful weekend outings. I was perfectly okay with being at home in my PJs and doing something by myself.
Honestly sometimes there are days when I do compare my life to others on social media. I watch other people’s stories and I can’t help but to feel a little envious. At times like this, I like to remind myself of all the things that I’m grateful for. This could be small things like catching up with my best friends, or something that made me smile at work that day. I think being happy isn’t a state that only happens when you reach a big goal or when you go on a much needed vacation, but it is also found in the small day to day moments of your life.