Just Me, Myself and I

2009 June 17
by Grace Boyle

De La Soul had it right in 1989, “It’s just me, myself and I…”

This past weekend I had an entire Sunday all to myself. No one called. I didn’t call anyone and you know what, I loved it.

I woke up. The sun was streaming through my window, warming my face. I decided to walk downtown to a cute brunch spot that I hadn’t checked out yet. I was delightfully surprised with the ambiance and food. I enjoyed a tofu scramble, iced coffee and quietly read my book. From time to time I observed people interacting, laughing with their friends or family. It’s funny sitting on the other end of the spectrum, alone but content.

I was able to get things done around my house that I had been meaning to. Catch up on errands and cleaning. Volunteered at Colorado Horse Rescue, a project I’ve recently taken on for myself. Working with horses again is therapeutic and takes me back to my years of riding and working with horses. Laundry. Yoga in the evening at my favorite studio. Cooked a delicious meal and baked in the evening.

I was quiet for most of the day. I laughed out loud. Danced alone in my room to my favorite songs. I did whatever the hell I wanted and didn’t have to oblige a single person.

Even Social Butterflies Need Time Alone

I’m a social butterfly. My weekdays and weekends are filled with work, events, visitors, cocktail hour with girlfriends, hikes, new adventures, dinner parties, farmers market, enjoying a new restaurant with friends…you name it, I’m probably there. This is why my alone time is so necessary and enlightening.

I spent time alone, but I wasn’t lonely. As humans, “we live in a society that worships independence yet deeply fears alienation: our era is sped-up and overconnected,” says author Esther Buchholz of “The Call of Solitude: Alonetime in a World of Attachment.”

I feel comfortable with me. Me, myself and I leads to self discovery and even a higher appreciation for those that I love. This is something I’ve learned overtime, which actually equips me for the times I spend socially with other people, professionally and personally.

What about you? Do you like to spend time alone? Does it relax you or make you feel uncomfortable?

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  • http://twitter.com/rosa7987 Rosalina Peña

    I think that`s awesome! I love spending time with myself too, I feel super productive because I find time to do lots of things, like you said, cleaning, writing, thinkinh, dancing alone in my room (I do this too much I`ll admit)
    It`s relaxing and great therapy :)

  • http://www.somethingcreativeinc.com/ Brody Dorland

    Sounds like a wonderful day…so jealous. Now throw a spouse and two kids (under three) into that mix and it would have gone something like this:

    Get “woken up” at 6:30 a.m. (before the sun comes up) by two hungry kids, head to our local breakfast eatery in the burbs where my two year old proceeds to throw scrambled eggs at the people in the booth next to us. Instead of observing people interacting, I'm sure everyone is observing us thinking “geez, control your kids”. Easier said than done.

    Get home and start laundry…If we start now, we might be done with it all by Wednesday. And despite cleaning the house last weekend, a tornado of toys, my wife's shoes and junk mail has accumulated yet again, so…

    Is it kids' nap time yet? (the only time I get for me, myself and I)

  • http://www.smallhandsbigideas.blogspot.com Grace Boyle

    @Rosalina You're very right–it's a time to be productive and also enjoy. I'm glad you find time to yourself, it's so important! Thanks for sharing :)

    @Brody I was giggling the entire way through your comment. I do find this time (pre-family, children, etc.) relaxing and definitely am not taking it for granted, because I know it won't last. At least you find a little time to yourself, through the kids nap time. Even if it's for 30 minutes, it's something, right? Thanks for stopping by!

  • benjamintwilcox

    I really like this post. I am a self-proclaimed social butterfly, but every now and then I want to throw my phone across the room because I am tired of texts/calls/emails and don't want to be bothered. Time to myself is very relaxing. I love to listen to music in my car loudly and sing along with no one else in the car. I also have been known to eat at a restaurant by myself every now and then.

    Being comfortable enough with yourself to be alone is important. Time to reflect on the events of the day is essential to develop understanding. It is great that you have been able to realize that for yourself and challenge others to do the same. Great post Grace!

  • http://www.lifewithoutpants.com Matthew

    Bringing out the De La Soul reference? Yowza!

    This is spot-on. Life is a pretty miserable place if you can't be comfortable around yourself. I'm like you though, alone time is scarce. With a million other things constantly swirling around, it seems like it's impossible to break away and have some 'me time'. What I do, and what I recommend for everyone else, is to make time for some simple, even mindless activities in your life. You don't always have to be productive, you don't always have to be advancing your personal brand, your career, building new relationships and friendships, sometimes, you can just BE.

    I play XBOX (usually Madden or Call of Duty) – in the grand scheme of things, it's completely pointless. But sometimes we need that, some solace in the pointless things that make us happy. It's relaxing, and in some weird way, therapeutic. Find the time to incorporate things like this into YOUR life, and you'll be much more content and relaxed overall.

  • http://www.smallhandsbigideas.blogspot.com Grace Boyle

    @Benjamin I am right there with you (chucking my phone across the room) but like me, you've definitely realized how important it is to get that time alone. I really don't think it matters what you're doing (I dance around in my room, you sing in your car) just as long as it feels good to you and you're relaxing :) Thanks for sharing!

  • http://www.smallhandsbigideas.blogspot.com Grace Boyle

    @Matt Yeah, I had to bust out the De La Soul reference 😉 I like hearing what each person does for their alone/me time. To each their own for sure. But like you said, it really doesn't matter what you do, just as long as you make time to do it. Thanks for the RT and sharing!

  • http://www.lifeschocolates.com sameve

    I agree, sounds like a wonderful way to spend a day! I think alone time is seriously underrated, we should all make more of an effort to fit some “me” time into our schedules. As much as I hated being unemployed, the one thing I did enjoy was being able to operate on my own schedule. I could fit in everything I wanted to, and if I didn't have the time or desire to do something one day, I could just do it the next day. Since I started working full time, it's been really difficult to find the time to do everything, and alone time is even more precious. I think the key is this, “I spent time alone, but I wasn't lonely.” There is a difference, and if people could only understand that it's okay (and even healthy) to spend some time alone, they'd probably much happier. Loved this post, Grace!

  • http://www.smallhandsbigideas.blogspot.com Grace Boyle

    @Sam Thank you! With my full-time job and busy schedule, that day alone was few and far between which is why I was drawn to write the post. After the day was done I realized how happy I felt, so I'm going to try and spend even more time (carve it out each week) to just myself. You're so right that it's okay to spend time alone-yay for the realization :)

  • http://shulticefinancial.com/ Blake

    I've always been introverted by nature (I like to think of myself as an 'extroverted-introvert'), so I HAVE to have at least some alone time on a regular basis.

    It only feels uncomfortable if I spend too much time alone- then I begin to feel disconnected from others around me. But I also get antsy after lots of time spent with others- simply because I need time to reflect and think and do things on my own.

    I love having the types of days you described (save for the dancing in the room 😉 ). You would more likely find me rocking out in my car.

  • http://www.smallhandsbigideas.blogspot.com Grace Boyle

    @Blake To each their own! You bring up a good point that maybe because I am so extroverted I crave that alone time. Whereas those with a little more introverted behavior seek time alone naturally. It definitely is a balance and depends on each person but I think no matter what your personality that being alone is imperative for your sanity, growth and understanding of the self. Thanks for sharing, Blake!

  • http://www.opheliaswebb.com opheliaswebb

    I always shock people with the “little known about Elisa” fact that I am, in fact, EXTREMELY introverted. I know this about myself, and thus try to make sure to spend time hanging out with others and being social as I can cause otherwise I'd hole up with my laptop or a book and maybe meet up with a select 10-20 people I can be myself around. All that socialness completely drains me though, and I try to spend at least one weekend completely “unplugged” from the world. Otherwise, I don't think I'd make it thru the other 6 days of the week!

  • http://blog.rachaelstott.com/ Rachael Stott

    For me Grace, the need for solitude is a given. Solitude, retreat, indulging the inner hermit are absolutely necessary for a well adjusted life. I firmly believe our lives inherently balance themselves (even if we don't actively construct that balance) and in order to counter-balance the immence activity we all engage in we need soolitude, downtime and peace.

    My challenge is not recognising that I require peace and time away from others, but achieving that. Babies didn't get the memo that discussed mummy's need for time to herself =)

    Great post =)

  • http://www.smallhandsbigideas.blogspot.com Grace Boyle

    @Elisa Regardless if you're introverted or extroverted, I think it's SO important to distinguish between the two and know yourself. You clearly do. A weekend unplugged would be fantastic. I often do that on vacations or weekends away camping. Thanks for sharing :)

  • http://www.smallhandsbigideas.blogspot.com Grace Boyle

    @Rachael You're right, because a lot of people recognize that they really need time alone but we are so busy (yes, Mommy's especialy:) that it's hard to MAKE that time. I think both are part of the alone/solitutde mix. At the beginning of the week I plan ahead, choose a day, and say no one can intervene or else I may never get it done either.

  • http://www.opheliaswebb.com Elisa Doucette

    I always shock people with the “little known about Elisa” fact that I am, in fact, EXTREMELY introverted. I know this about myself, and thus try to make sure to spend time hanging out with others and being social as I can cause otherwise I'd hole up with my laptop or a book and maybe meet up with a select 10-20 people I can be myself around. All that socialness completely drains me though, and I try to spend at least one weekend completely “unplugged” from the world. Otherwise, I don't think I'd make it thru the other 6 days of the week!

  • http://blog.rachaelstott.com/ Rachael Stott

    For me Grace, the need for solitude is a given. Solitude, retreat, indulging the inner hermit are absolutely necessary for a well adjusted life. I firmly believe our lives inherently balance themselves (even if we don't actively construct that balance) and in order to counter-balance the immence activity we all engage in we need soolitude, downtime and peace.

    My challenge is not recognising that I require peace and time away from others, but achieving that. Babies didn't get the memo that discussed mummy's need for time to herself =)

    Great post =)

  • http://www.smallhandsbigideas.blogspot.com Grace Boyle

    @Elisa Regardless if you're introverted or extroverted, I think it's SO important to distinguish between the two and know yourself. You clearly do. A weekend unplugged would be fantastic. I often do that on vacations or weekends away camping. Thanks for sharing :)

  • http://www.smallhandsbigideas.blogspot.com Grace Boyle

    @Rachael You're right, because a lot of people recognize that they really need time alone but we are so busy (yes, Mommy's especialy:) that it's hard to MAKE that time. I think both are part of the alone/solitutde mix. At the beginning of the week I plan ahead, choose a day, and say no one can intervene or else I may never get it done either.

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