I sometimes think about the way our society has become accustomed to doing things only with others. More often than none, extracurricular activities aren't done alone because people are scared of looking or feeling that way. One of the best exercises for self growth is creating a personal journey. Originally I would've said "easiest" instead of "best", but it isn't easy for everyone and that is perfectly fine. Being self motivated while doing things alone, simply manifests your journey.
I recently took a Design workshop at General Assembly. I enjoy designing and have an older sister that works in tech for a living. I sometimes watch her work, and over the years, her problem solving process began to intrigue me. I like to think about the way people solve problems differently than me. Being in a class with people from different backgrounds/walks of life gives me that experience. Sitting in a room with people that aren't anything like me is a representation of the world in general, on a smaller, but more contained scale. The understanding of other people's mind sets not only makes you more opening minded, but adds to your humility and patience. These are just a few things I've learned about making the decision to take this class on my own.
Yes, I went to college but this is just for fun. "Learning for fun?!", you ask? Yeah, I dabble in it. At the conclusion of yesterday's workshop the instructor asked why we were taking the class. I had multiple reasons, the most obvious being that I wanted to learn, but more so, because I wanted to do something for myself, for my self improvement and self growth. I might even make a few friends or future business partners out of taking the class, right? Adding to your skill set, especially a skill set that is foreign to you, is something to consider. It's an investment and inevitably a great experience.
I'm not saying go out and take a class to learn, I mean, yeah you can if you want to -- but really think to yourself when's the last time you had you time? When's the last time you stayed home to watch a movie by yourself and laughed with me, myself and I - genuinely? Took on a job and (at first) had no idea how to do it? Or even took a bigger leap and traveled to a different country on your own? Something that seems as minuscule as eating at a restaurant by yourself is such a huge step towards self empowerment and overcoming fear.
In 2011, a study by University of Maryland's Rebecca Ratner and Georgetown's Rebecca Hamilton showed that peoples expectation of going out alone was very low, but their feeling upon having done something alone was raised to be surprisingly enjoyable. Their research showed that the main reason for people not doing things alone was mainly based on fear and the idea that they would be looked at differently or as "loners".
"We see evidence that people underpredict how much fun they'll have on their own relative to with others." - Rebecca Hamilton
A few months ago I took a trip to LA by myself. I had no one to go to the beach with and was terrified at the thought of going by myself. It was something I had never done. But I thought to myself, "You know what, I'm already here, life doesn't wait for anyone and I'm not about to waste this trip." So I packed my beach bag and drove down to the shore by myself. That day turned out to be one of the most enjoyable experiences I've ever had. If you've never gone somewhere peaceful on your own, I highly highly recommend it. It's a breath of fresh air, both literally and metaphorically. You get time to think, in my case, listen to the worlds noises and the waves of the ocean. It's an experience like none other.
"A person does not grow from the ground like a vine or a tree, one is not part of a plot of land. Mankind has legs so it can wander." - Roman Payne, The Wanderess
After taking my class, I found the need to write this. A lot of what I write on here is just going to be random thoughts. But in all seriousness, I encourage you to get into the habit of trying things alone once in a while. If you have yet to try real me time, you're not living, my friend. I want you to go out on a limb and do something by yourself, for yourself. If you have to, start off small and build up. If you've already built up, keep building. There's always room for growth. We were put in this world to live, and that is a life changing experience.
Every now and then it's a good thing to be lonesome, be curious and be shameless.. take your leap of faith. You'll never know until you try.
- xo, Mil