“Alone time is when I distance myself from the voices of the world so I can hear my own ” – Oprah
Before university, I was the last person to preach me time. Throughout my teenage years I considered myself an extrovert. I got my energy from other people and I felt insecure being alone.
Things started to change once I set off to university. I went from avoiding being alone to searching for opportunities to be alone. During my first year of university part of my growth was learning to get energy from within myself. I no longer got my energy solely from being social, I started to take the time to do activities on my own and be alone with my thoughts.
Learning to be comfortable on my own certainly did not happen without its challenges. First semester I really struggled with the concept. I felt lonely when I was alone. Between having a full-time job the summer before and moving into residence at university, I’d hardly spent time alone in months. At the start of the year I thought I would somehow miraculously make friends with everyone and never have to feel lonely. I was wrong, but looking back that was part of the process.
For the first few months I felt discouraged. I wasn’t meeting my expectations about my social life. Eventually I realized I wasn’t being true to myself. First of all, I’d never been a group person. I wasn’t a party person in high school and that really didn’t change much in university. I thought there was something wrong with me, but partying really isn’t my thing.
Over the Christmas break, I had a break from constantly being surrounded by others. I was able to take time to reflect and I realized that I needed to throw my expectations away and start being myself again. Part of being my true self was focusing on the worthwhile relationships in my life. I have some amazing, supportive friends. Instead of worrying about making friends with everyone, I needed to put more effort into those relationships. On the other hand, I wanted to become more comfortable being alone. I realized that I was giving off too much energy constantly surrounding myself with others and I wasn’t getting any energy from within myself.
Second semester I started to get out on my own. I began to write. I went skating on the canal. On the weekends I would get out of residence for the day to go to another building to study. I started to allow my mind the chance to wander without any outside influence. Being alone started to feel refreshing rather than lonely. I felt more secure, creative, and happy.
Learning to incorporate alone time into my days is definitely a work in progress. It’s something I consciously need to do because its too easy to forget to make it a priority. I’m on my way to being both an extrovert and an introvert – to truly knowing who I am.