Being Alone

When was the last time you went to see a movie alone? When was the last time you went to a cafe, brought a book or magazine, bought a tea or coffee, and sat outside under the umbrella and read quietly? When was the last time you brought your gorgeous self over to a bistro for lunch, treated yourself to a glass of wine, and ate a delicious meal alone?

Being alone. Something I want you to think about today. Truly being alone. Comfortable in your own skin. No distractions. No cell phones. No husbands. No kids. No girlfriends. Just you.

I finally saw Eat Pray Love last week. And funny enough, when I read the book years ago, I found myself bored to tears throughout most of it. But something in the move completely moved me. I loved it. Something  resonated so deep down inside, that I cried on and off for two straight hours. Besides watching the beautiful scenery of Italy (for Eat), India (for Pray) and Bali (for Love), it was Julia Roberts that brought Elizabeth Gilbert the author, so much to life. And while I couldn’t identify with most parts of her story, parts of it were scarily so very ME.

For those of you that don’t know the premise, it’s about a burned-out successful female writer living in an unhappy, unfulfilled marriage who decides to leave her husband and travel the world alone for a year to find herself, and document her experiences. And while I couldn’t identify with living unhappily in a marriage, if I can be honest, which is where I am the most honest, here on my Blog with you, I identified with sometimes wanting to run away and be alone. The thought of peace and tranquility and clearing your mind from the daily grind. From homework, from work, from chatter and noise. To clear your head from routines and ruts, from schedules and carpools, from events and obligations. To just up and leave, and let the world be your oyster. To meet up with strangers, other bright and dynamic women and sit and chat for hours and learn about other cultures. To not have to answer to anyone, nor be accountable for a period of time felt so free, and I escaped in that feeling for two hours.

eat pray love julia roberts

Now, I am an only child, so being alone is a very comfortable place for me. It’s when I do most of my thinking, growing and learning. It’s not to depress you or sound dark, but I am truly my most comfortable alone. This is not to say my most cherished moments are not being with my adoring husband and wonderful children and incredible family. My happiest thoughts are of  us laughing, hanging out, playing and being a family. They are my life, my reason for getting up in the morning. But I also love to be alone. Those of you who live in Montreal can often spot me anywhere ALONE. I shop alone. I often eat alone. I can peruse through a library or bookstore for two hours alone. I like to take my own car everywhere I go. I like to be able to slide out the back door if something bores me. I like moving at my own pace… which on some days is snail-pace, and on other days, is catch-me-if-you-can pace.  I guess you could say I’m a loner, despite being a very talkative, outgoing and loud person. And despite having many wonderful girlfriends.

But I know from experience that being alone can be wonderful. And I don’t mean being a divorced, single woman alone. I mean being alone as a married woman or in a committed relationship. I mean taking moments, your own moments, to re-discover yourself. Does that make sense to you? I mean getting comfortable with yourself without distraction. Closing your eyes and listening to your Ipod. Reading without any distraction. Heading downtown shopping without needing the approval of anyone to tell you if something looks good or not, if you look too fat, too skinny, too short, too tall. I can tell you from experience, every successful decision I have ever made, has come to me while being alone. And I think we often underestimate our own capabilities. Whenever I have been on the fence in my life, I have been the one to uncover the answers. Not my husband, not my parents, not my friends. So what does all this mean for you? It means that there is only ONE PERSON in this world who has all the answers to your questions. That person is YOU. And you will discover those answers to your questions if you learn to be alone and spend the time.

Watch this. Don’t laugh. It can seem weird or funny. But watch it ’till the end. I’m sure if you allow it to, something will click inside and you’ll understand why being alone is imperative to your happiness.

Now, for the first time, I’d like to give you homework for the weekend. Try it out, and let me know how it goes. I hope you come to make big life decisions, on your own. I’m not saying not to bounce your ideas off of the people you love, but really, all the answers lie within you. So get comfortable getting to really know yourself. Here’s your homework. Reach out to me either on the comments section below or via email on how it goes for you.

I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Until next time,

xoxEDxox

39 Comments
  1. I LOVED this post. You are very real and very honest and I love that. I think we all sometimes feel like running away at certain hectic moments of our lives. It’s not to say we want to be unmarried or single it just means that an escape would sometimes be a fantasy!
    Amazing!

  2. Hi Erica! This was a great post! I love to be alone. I do a lot of things alone because that is when I can hear my authentic self speak. (what I mean is, to listen to MY heart) I am a bit of a loner. Not in a weird way. I am happily married and have a great family and friends. I always make my best decisions alone. I liken others input, but ultimately the decision is made when I am alone. I just recently quit my job, made the decision in my car alone. Thank you for this post! I hope that a lot of women realize what you have learned. Being alone can be great!!!! Thank you for being such an inspiration!!

  3. Fabulous post. It’s unfortunate that not many people understand what you’re talking about. The women in my community travel in packs and herds……. noone knows how to be alone!

  4. Best post ever! Yes, its important to hear yourself think, feel yourself be, and sense your presence in its space… being alone is a gift and once you know yourself… it’s the best gift of authenticity you can give to others. Your life starts with YOU. Thanks Erica… you’re the best!

    1. Erica,
      Love this post and truly enjoyed the youtube poem. Might just have to embed that on my blog too. As a writer, I know all about being alone – and though sometimes I rail against it – mostly I sink into it like a cat on a sofa and revel in the experience.
      I do a lot of traveling by myself and highly recommend it. I love traveling with my husband, friends and family, but the best material always comes from being on my own. It’s riskier, in that there is no guaranteed company or conversation, and the results and rewards from that ‘lack’ is what gives me the insights I am looking for by being out in the big, wide world.
      Thanks for starting the conversation…

  5. As another “lonely only” I can identify with your feelings about loving your alone time. Many of my peers find it strange that I enjoy being by myself, and even my own mother (herself an only) frets about it. Suffice it to say that she and I are wired quite differently.

    I’ve got a blog post in the hopper about this very subject, ironically. Maybe when I get some alone time I’ll be able to finish it.

  6. AAHHHH! Me time! nothing beats it, we all need time to ourself if only to reenergize and collect our thoughts. I love my kids and husband and all my girlfriends, but I do cherish those alone moments.
    Great website Elizabeth, keep up the great work.

  7. How interesting that I just “discovered” your blog and this post today as last night I finally granted myself my own “mom’s night out,” something I pine for often but rarely do (maybe once a year, if that!). With four kids, a home-based business and a million other things demanding my time, I can use all the “me” time I can get. I went for a 30 minute walk, took myself out for dinner to a place my family doesn’t really like but that I love, then grabbed a cappucino on the way home. Everything you say is SO true.. the video about being alone is a perfect description and the comments that you add are spot on. Thanks for sharing… it’s nice to know I’m really NOT alone in my enjoyment and appreciation of time spent alone.

  8. This is my first time visiting your site. I do envy you since you seem to get a lot more comments then I do. Do you have any secret tips on how I can get more comments or do I just have to be paitent? Anyway, keep up the good work.

  9. I would like to start off by saying, thank you for supplying me using the information I’ve been searching for. I’ve been surfing the web for three several hours searching for it and would have given my correct arm if I would have located your site sooner. Not only did I find what I was searching for, but discovered answers to questions I never even believed to ask myself. Thank you for your wonderful web-site!

  10. Hello! This post could not be written any better! Reading through this post reminds me of my old room mate! He always kept chatting about this. I will forward this page to him. Pretty sure he will have a good read. Many thanks for sharing!

  11. I grew up in a family of 6, and now it’s me, my son, the two cats & fish – and I STILL love having time to myself! My latest ‘loving solo’ is riding my motorcycle (Suzuki SV650S) on 500kms+ road trips. There is nothing in the world like being on your own, at your own pace, and [re-]discovering your inner ‘pioneer’ while discovering spectacular out-of-the-ordinary places 🙂

  12. I found your blog while searching for something else.

    I was born and lived on a farm until I was 10 in Nova Scotia. This meant no TV or any form of distracting noise. I was alone with nature and myself to amuse. I lived in the US since and always missed the solitude through my busy life. I recently made the decision to return to a quiet slower paced life for my retirement. The missing links since then are coming back to me. Solitude, quiet (I do not run TV, radio, etc all day) while I spend my days. I am adjusting to the quiet quite nicely, it is like a reunion with an old friend. The slowed pace is so welcomed because I feel I have the time to do whatever I need to do without deadline pressure. No more watching the clock like it is a timebomb. And I realize that I spent many hours, days, years running with a pack (other running friends, workmates, etc) and not really living my life.

    I enjoyed reading and listening to your words on solitude. Running away? no.. becoming more sane is the brave part and living busy lives is the part where we do the running away!

  13. Hello Erica,

    Simply alone is a wonderful feeling knowing that you got a family who loves you. Both my partner and I are both retired, we both love our solitude, we both have our own rooms, we both watch different tv shows….aloneness gives you the magic of thinking, of becoming creative, of sharing deeper thoughts with the self….so I believe that we humans love the times alone. Now, if you experience loneliness while being alone, you need to speak to the higher self. A great subject, many, many answers….love your blog.

    Erica, you look so much like my daughter who actually lives alone (Architect/Urban Planner) in Montreal, and, she tells me that she is having a grand time…

    Thank you for letting me share.

    Levi

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