I recently re-initiated a habit which I had in my early 20s, dating myself, I don’t know how/when I’ve gotten so use to people’s company that I can’t go anywhere by myself (weird considering I’m an introvert). As I’ve gotten older I’ve realized that it was increasingly difficult to gather your friends together and have an outing. They were oftentimes too busy, strapped for cash or simply not interested- the end result being I have missed out on a lot of things that I would have wanted to do/experience.
So I’m revisiting the old me and sharing what I’ve learnt by going SOLO (old and new findings) in random order of course.
1. People are innately warm & friendly. I know I know Jamaica’s customer service gets a bad rap rightly so in most cases but I’ve found that when you are alone people are so accommodating to you (I don’t know if this remains true for a single male). They want to ensure you have a good experience, going out of their way to be nice to you, constantly checking in with you, offering you little encouraging smiles etc etc.
2. As an introvert, I tend to hide behind my friends, going solo forces me to communicate WITH WORDS in a way that I’d be understood among other things (like using the appropriate words). It’s not as easy as you might think but I’m all about pushing my social boundaries. From simply approaching a person to ask them to take a photo (daunting task- still work in progress) to returning that favour, to sharing a table with total strangers at a food festival or trusting strangers to watch your possessions while you take a dip in the sea. I’m nowhere near what I want to be nor am I as socially awkward as I used to be.
3. I inspire people. I get all these comments like, “You are sooo brave, I could never”, I do get some deprecating ones (which I can’t recall) as well. People love that you can go it alone especially women of all ages.
4. You WILL NOT be alone or not enjoy yourself. That’s always been my fear that I’d feel weird, be left out, I will not enjoy myself or after a hour I’d be so bored that I’d leave. Wrong, wrong wrong. People quickly draw me into their conversations, buy me drinks, share their food, give me rides, teach me the rules/basics and the list goes on. Its feels so genuine because they do not know me, they didn’t have to but they wanted to and at the end we part ways never to see each other again, so it’s not burdensome.
5. Nothing is safe from us SOLO people, lol. While they are things I’m okay doing alone even I have always said I’d never go to a movie, on a date or to the beach by myself- those were solid couple or group outings. Until of course you have no choice but to and yes I did enjoy myself.
6. It is very fortifying and liberating. Somehow people think its pathetic to be by yourself, it is not, it is pathetic to always need a plus one. The knowledge that I can always go it alone has extricated me from doings things I did not want to do, for example, going to clubs and parties. Those have never been my thing and not because my friends are party animals that does not mean I have to be too. It gives your ‘no’ a certain impetus, its not weak because you know you can go it alone if you must.
7. I never have to compromise. We all have things that we are passionate about which other people do not get. For me those activities include food festivals, art exhibitions, road trips, restaurants, car racing and photography. Going solo means I do not have to watch time or ‘hurry up about it’, I can immerse and really enjoy myself because I’m not worried about being inconsiderate to the other person who is totally bored. This is soooo true for when I’m taking photos, imagine struggling with nature to take a ‘perfect’ pic only to have someone say, “Are you done yet? Why can’t you just snap it with your phone, it’s got a 13MP camera” arrggh
8. You learn more about you; we are always evolving. So what have I learnt? I like wine tasting, I’m not so bad after all, I’ll explore with food/drinks provided there is a knowledgeable person to guide me, I like more ‘authentic’ experiences for want of a better phrase, I like people and I’m not so socially awkward, if I am it’s not me it’s you: I don’t like you.
9. Doing regular shit is boring, out-of-the-box stuff is better, honest. They aren’t necessarily pricier either by virtue of not being run-of-the-mill, it’s uncrowded and a fuller/richer experience.
I’ll follow up with my faves…things to do, places to go in part 2 of this post. Oh and I don’t have a #10 what would you add? Drop a comment.