The Soapbox

Being alone doesn’t have to be lonely

I spend most of my nights alone. In the summer months I go for long walks while listening to my iPod. In the winter I just hang out in my room reading a book or listening to some music. “If you ever get lonely just go to the record store and visit your friends” is one of my favourite lines from the movie Almost Famous because I think it’s totally true.

Some people might say I live a sheltered life, but I’m fairly content this way. I was the kid who hated going to summer camp because having to share a room with other people and never getting any time to myself was a nightmare. It might seem like I’m misanthropic, but I wouldn’t say that’s the case at all. 

I enjoy interacting with others, but I’m also really quiet and that’s something people take issue with. People usually say I’m too quiet and tell me to come out of my shell, but I’m not really hiding anything and that’s just how I am. Jonathan Rauch makes a lot of good points in his 2003 essay Caring For Your Introvert and one of them is that introversion is an orientation, not a choice. Sometimes I wish I could be loud, but unfortunately it just doesn’t seem to be possible.

Live music gets me out of the house and I usually end up going to shows solo, something that doesn’t bother me. I might know the bands, recognize a person in the crowd or meet someone new, but I’m also happy listening to the music instead of trying to socialize. Being soft-spoken also makes it hard because no one can usually hear what I’m saying anyway. Sometimes I have decent conversations at shows, but usually it’s best if I try to talk in a quieter setting.

I also like traveling by myself because there’s no need to compromise and the possibilities are endless. My first trip came about four years ago because I was tired of trying to find other people to go with me. I chose Toronto and there was something freeing about getting off the plane and not really knowing anyone. 

When I was wandering around the CN Tower one of the girls working there stopped me and started chatting, probably because I was wearing an Alkaline Trio shirt. We kept talking about music and when she realized I was alone she motioned me to follow her. She graciously took me to the top for free, which saved me $30 and was something I was never expecting. It became the highlight of my trip and still inspires me to keep traveling solo.

Going out alone doesn’t have to be depressing. If anything it can be an adventure because you never know what you’ll experience or who you’ll meet along the way. Maybe one day I’ll find someone I click with and change my mind, but until then I’m OK with spending nights on my own.

Deborah Remus is the Uniter’s arts reporter. She was supposed to write an Up All Night but ended up writing this.

Published in Volume 69, Number 22 of The Uniter (February 25, 2015)

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