It’s a Friday afternoon in October of 2020. I’m driving home after a hectic shift at work and I’m looking forward to binge-watching another season of Shameless.
By the time I get home, it’s almost 10 p.m. and my housemates have called it a night and gone to bed or they are spending time with their significant others. I find myself alone.
The next day, I leave my house at 8:30 a.m. for my internship at the Hillsboro Farmers Market. By 4 p.m., I’m at work again and after, I find myself in the same place I was the night before: just me, myself, and I. These were my weekends from around mid-August until about the end of November.
This past summer, I went back home to California for an internship. That horrible L.A. traffic made my commute from Alta Loma to Redondo Beach almost two hours (just in the morning).
I would often kill time after my internship to avoid getting stuck in three hours of afternoon traffic by spending time at the Manhattan Beach pier or walking through a mall. Some afternoons, I would walk through Barnes & Noble for two hours and read the wedding section. During my commute and after the internship, I was in the same situation: alone.
Normally, I would cringe at the idea of having to be alone for that much time. However, it ended up being one of the best things that could have ever happened to me. I was so busy all the time that being alone was my time to decompress and self-evaluate.
I spent time getting to know myself in a deeper way. I learned that it’s okay to let yourself be angry or just cry. There’s nothing wrong with letting myself feel my emotions, especially during a pandemic, where everyone is emotionally exhausted.
I learned that my mental health thrives when I keep my brain active with things that aren’t just school (i.e. an internship at the Hillsboro Farmers’ Market, a part-time job at Little Big Burger, and being a member of Alpha Kappa Psi). I stopped caring about what other people thought of me and started feeling secure with myself. Most importantly, I got comfortable with being alone.
As extroverted as I am, these periods in my life helped me realize that everyone needs their alone time. Alone time isn’t just a time to decompress, but a time to reflect on my life, my choices and the direction I want to head going forward.
It’s also a time for some self-reflection. Everybody should get comfortable with the idea of being alone, as scary as that might feel. The time I spent alone made me realize that I didn’t need to be codependent on other people in order to feel fulfilled.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think people should spend their lives in a bubble, but allow yourself some alone time. In fact, choosing to do this can have many benefits, including being able to handle negative situations later on. It can sound scary, but it’s worth it.
We spend so much time getting to know others, we forget to know ourselves and make that relationship as important as any other. Now go make yourself your favorite food or drink and enjoy some quality alone time!
Isabel Cornejo is a reporter for the Beacon. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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