The women at the Thai restaurant know me, and they nod their heads in greeting as I enter. The room is empty, with the exception of one elderly man who sits alone in the corner. He stares off into the distance as he sips Tom Kha, and I wonder if he isn’t thinking of some lost love or adolescent memory. They seat me, and in a moment, the peace comes–the quiet peace of silently sitting alone.
I have learned to love eating alone. Shopping alone. Reading and sipping coffee alone–because really, there are things we feel sometimes that just can’t be shared aloud. Perhaps we aren’t ready. Perhaps we don’t know how. And in those moments, the words seep out of me and make their way to my fingers. My pad begins to fill.
An hour passes quickly.
When I graduated, my friend Rachael (affectionately referred to as Whitetail), sent me a video entitled “How to Be Alone.” Sometimes our situation forces us to go without community or friends or family members. Often though, we are surrounded by people and have no idea how intentionally learning to do things by ourselves can grow and stretch us.
So, like the poet says in the video, start out with something small. But do it. Go spend time alone and see how it changes you. I guarantee your mind will come up with wild and marvelous ideas.
I know mine does.