How to be alone, but not lonely

Posted by Sinead McElhinney October  05, 2017

It’s hard for me to be alone.

The very idea of being alone is hard for me to grasp. With a career in PR, being connected and social is something I love. But, I recently realized I am never really at peace. I’m always planning or doing. I never make the time or effort to just relax. I challenged myself on this and recently took a solo trip to Prince Edward County--a beautiful, quaint area in Ontario, Canada--to explore enjoying my own company.

I left the to-do list at home, unplugged my devices and went with the sole intention of relaxing with a few great stories. It was truly a challenge for me.

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So here’s how it went:

I arrived at a beautiful waterfront cottage in the peace and quiet of Prince Edward County, just a short drive from Sandbanks Provincial Park. It is an Airbnb property that has breathtaking panoramic views, your very own private waterfront , and after taking in the view and putting my things away, my first thought was, “well now what?” It was such an odd sensation to have no plans, no deadlines, and no Insta feeds to scroll through. 

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After having the urge to check my phone more often than I’d like to admit, I kept reminding myself to just unwind and enjoy the moment. It’s scary to think about it, but according to a study conducted by Telus, the majority of Canadians check their phone 100 times a day. Well, at least I’m not the only one. But just think about all that time you could have been reading, exercising, cooking, whatever your hobby is.

%22Be unapologetically content in your own company%22-4

Withstanding the urge to check my phone, I started reading at 12 p.m. on Saturday and I took a break two hours later. Or so I’d thought. To my surprise it was 5 p.m. and I was halfway through We Are Never Meeting in Real Life. by Samantha Irby.

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As it turns out, reading in a quiet room with sunlight beaming down on you is pure bliss.Less than 48 hours into my getaway of solitude, the urge to check my phone was gone, and I was completely content not knowing who was doing what or who was eating brunch where. I was more concerned with what was happening in my book. On day two, I was deep into one of the 2017 Giller prize longlisted books, I Am a Truck, by Michelle Winters.  

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While reading did take up the majority of my time, I also had a chance to check out the surrounding area. I went to Sandbanks and wandered the beautiful beach known for its dunes.  I enjoyed the sunset Saturday night with a killer combo of Merlot and homemade S’mores. I was deliberately and completely zen all weekend. I also stopped by Three Dog Winery on the way home, they had a luscious vineyard and made delicious wood fired pizzas.

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While reading and relaxing over the two days, here’s what I noticed:

  • Waking up to sunlight versus an alarm is amazing

  • Sipping hot coffee on a dock (even if it’s instant) is better than any $9 latte

  • Silence piques curiosity

  • I didn’t feel lonely, I felt balanced and at peace

  • I found myself enjoying more of everything

  • Time passed by much quicker than normal

  • Time is just a construct; in day to day life we feel the need to follow a schedule. Eat when you're hungry, sleep when you're tired.

  • I’m a cheater, on authors that is. I’m a serial reader, I started four books in two days.

Who among us can’t use a little more concentration and  tranquility in our lives? Next time you have a spare day, do something by yourself. It can be as simple as going to a cafe with a good book, going out to dinner by yourself, or having a staycation. Just try it, you will thank me.

Here is a list of stories to keep you company:

Manhattan Beach by Jennifer Egan

I'm Fine...And Other Lies by Whitney Cummings

We Are Never Meeting in Real Life by Samantha Irby

The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson, narrated by Roger Wayne

You Are a Badass by Jen Sincero, narrated by Jen Sincero

Citation

http://www.newswire.ca/news-releases/cibc-poll-checked-your-smartphone-recently-canadian-smartphone-owners-say-they-check-their-mobile-device-every-10-minutes-on-average-513665311.html



 

Comment (1)

I also think it is fulfilling to be alone and to learn about myself. But I am alone all the time, not just for a weekend. I need to learn to be content at all times. That is the challenge for me.
Carolyn Enyeart October 08, 2017

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