Saturday, March 01, 2008

Lessons in Aloneness

As I reach the end of my island interlude, I have mixed feelings about going home.

I suppose it's only natural to feel a certain resistance to leaving behind the languid tranquility of this pristine seaside paradise for the noise and bustle of the smog-shrouded city. While I welcome the thought of being back to my real life, I will miss this amazingly beautiful place. I will miss the idyllic simplicity of my days. And I will miss my solitude.

This is the first trip I have ever taken completely on my own. It's hard to believe that I've reached thirty without ever having traveled alone, but it's true. Most of my trips away from the familiar were, if not with friends or family, to places where I have friends or family. These two weeks I've spent so far away from home, where everyone I have met is a stranger, has been an experiment in being alone.

This aloneness has been a mixed blessing. I admit I have been lonely here at times. I have encountered many new faces, but, friendly as people here may be, there hasn't been much time or opportunity to make any real friends. Nonetheless, being here alone has not taken away from the experience. It has even added to it.

While I do miss the company and conversation of the people I love, I have come to learn that I can be comfortable with only myself for company. And I am slowly coming to appreciate the freedom that comes from being on my own.

Some people might think it's easy for me to say this because I'm here only for a short time and I know I will be going home soon. But despite my streak of wanderlust, embracing the unknown has never been my strong suit. For me, taking this job has been a huge step out of my safety zone. And I am very glad I did it. It has made me a little bit braver, a little bit bolder - and just a little bit more ready for the other journeys that lie ahead, alone or otherwise.

I am already looking forward to the next.


Manggy said...

Time waits for no one, it goes on without you. Oh wait, sorry, your post was making me sing, haha :)

People (actually mostly Arunee) wonder why I have no qualms about going about my everyday business- eating out, watching movies, etc.- alone. The thing is, even if many things are enjoyable with friends, it's still great to be able to enjoy things by yourself. Comes in handy. And you realize that you are more interesting than you thought.

Here's to many great experiences ahead for you!

Em Dy said...

It's nice really to have some alone time to think, reflect or simply be. I'm glad it worked out well for you. Other people would find even the thought unappealing. Although I agree that no man is an island, I also think that life hands us out moments, especially us quirkyalones (I learned that word from you), when we are alone by fate or force of circumstance. Giving ourselves alone time prepares us for those days.

Good luck on your next adventure.

dr_clairebear said...

@ manggy: i second the motion. :) i realized that a lot of the things i enjoy are actually solitary pursuits - writing, reading, exploring the city... blogging. this doesn't make me a loner, just someone who is used to being alone. i've learned not to limit what i can do for lack of companionship - and this trip has just helped me make that list longer.

@ em dy: i'm glad i am spreading the "quirkyalone" gospel! it was about time that we singles were given a positive message to affirm our circumstance. this has been an interlude in simply being, and it was great. you should take that vacation if you feel like it - you're not too young for a recharge! :)

tutubi philippines said...

traveling alone is an adventure...

so parang island-hopping life. take care

Lincoln said...

I was in heaven, but alas I must return to hell. I know the feeling. :-D

MegaMom said...

Solitude is now such a precious commodity to me... sigh...

I'm glad you had the guts to step out of the safe box and do this on your own, and that you appreciated it.