I’m sitting in an airport somewhere in China, alone. On Christmas. And I’m OK. More than OK, actually, because I’m two flights down on my way to Yangshuo, Guilin. The holidays in Korea are less than attractive so I had to book my ticket on Christmas Day hence the crazy jumping around China to get to my destination. In all honesty, it’s been a difficult day but it’s been a day of fucking accomplishments. I woke up at 4:30 am and by the time I’m writing this at 2 pm, I’ve been in three crazy airports. There is no one else that looks like me and I’ve gone the wrong way several times, I was even pointed to international departures instead of domestic because I was SO foreign. Both flights were filled with turbulence from beginning till end and you know how terrified I am of flying.
There were several times today where my heart started pounding in my ears and my face flushed from pure panic. Then I took a breath and sorted myself out because nothing will teach you more about yourself than being alone.
Hello, from China!
Or more specifically, Ningbo International Airport. Needless to say, I don’t know where the fuck I am right now. If you handed me a map I probably wouldn’t be able to find myself. I’m eating two-day-old cheesecake (at least) and I haven’t tried the cappuccino yet but the dude behind the coffee machine doesn’t look so sure of himself. Lamb has never been happier. Sip. Cappuccino is average but made with love. Best $11 I ever spent.
I’m currently rereading “The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck” by Mark Manson. When it comes to self-help books, I’ll usually read it through once and then take a pen to it the second time. I underline everything that applies to me and scribble notes in the margins. Books like this become my Bible in a sense that I will open it whenever I feel the need to find comfort in it. I needed some comfort today and a segment that really resonated with me was:
“…nobody is ever responsible for your happiness but you. This is because you always get to choose how you see things, how you react to things, how you value things. You always get to choose the metric by which to measure your experiences.”
I don’t believe I find my growth taking things easy, being blissful and in a safe place never push my human. Today has taught me so much and it’s just after noon. That strength comes from being alone, realizing my own potential.
How can you be OK with being alone?
Let’s have a little peek inside my dating history, shall we? I started dating when I was 16 and I had boyfriend after boyfriend until I was 21. From there, I enjoyed the single life a little too much if you get what I’m saying. I had one more boyfriend after that for two years but otherwise, I’ve been single. What I’m getting at is that I’ve been both single and in a relationship for long lengths of time. It’s impossible for me to say which one I’d prefer because I wouldn’t want to be with any of my exes and I’m really happy on my own so, duh, I would pick being alone. It’s a biased choice based on my current state of happiness. I haven’t met anyone I’ve wanted to marry or partner with for life so I’m going to go with being alone based on the fact it’s when I’ve been happiest in my life. That’s not a dig at my exes, we’re all different people who are perfect for someone and not perfect for many people.
I’ve found such profound strength in being alone because I’ve been told I needed a man since birth. You need one because women can’t drive, fix things around the house, protect themselves, make a fire or change a light bulb. It was hammered into my brain and it got me thinking that I would always need to have someone by my side to basically function. I do not blame my parents or society, we were all misinformed and the times are changing. In regards to the above archaic idea, I don’t think it’s healthy to be with someone because you need them to function. An equal partnership is healthier because it allows both parties to fulfill the role of the protector when the occasion calls for it.
If you are not a ‘full’ person with your shit together, how are you going to be there for someone else? Knowing yourself makes you accountable for your actions and makes you a healthier person to be around. How can we discover ourselves if we’re told we’ll be better off as another half rather than a full fucking pie? The next blog post in my Countdown to 30 series is about the changes in relationships, as you get older. I will delve into this more in that post.
How to not be lonely
“Don’t you get lonely?” This question has been said to me repeatedly over the last few years and I try to answer it as nicely as possible. The simple answer is, no, not anymore. I absolutely love spending time on my own without another human by my side. I’m about to embark on five whole nights alone exploring new towns in a foreign country and I couldn’t be more excited at the idea. Alone time is incredibly healthy and if I pushed for more of it in my previous relationships, they probably would’ve been much healthier too.
You have to face the question of “Why don’t you want to be alone?” Loving your own company means you have to love yourself. I never got that before and it was only once I started to peel back my layers did I realize I hated myself. Once I started that healing process, I began to crave my own company more and more. There’s this HUGE basket of denial that we like to carry around with us. I love myself. I’m confident. I’ve got my shit together. Denial. Denial. Denial. Face your bullshit and sort yourself out. You’re an adult and nobody is waiting to put a bib on you.
I’m at this place where I think I love myself on most days of the week, but I still have the occasional wobble and I need to be honest with myself on those days. Why can’t I stand my own company today? Is it because I did something or had a thought process I’m not proud of? That’s how powerful thought is, it can literally make you hate your own company. Which is bullshit, because when you learn to love your own company, it will be the best friendship you’ll ever have.
Loving your own company
Have you watched “Runaway Bride”? There’s this bit where Richard Gere asks all of Julia Roberts exes what type of eggs she likes and they all answer “blah blah… same as me”. He was trying to prove that she jumped from relationship to relationship without discovering who she really was; she simply molded to the person she was with at the time. I can’t remember much of that movie (because she was a BITCH) but I remember that part so clearly. I vowed never to be like that, to change with every man I was with and to stay true to myself.
Learning yourself is better for both singletons and people entering into relationships. Realizing why you react to situations you’re faced with can make you a better partner. I’m still learning about myself and I feel like I’m almost at that place where I would be OK to have someone enter my life, but not yet.
To end off, here’s a snippet from my journal entry today:
“Is this what this vacation is going to be about? Discovering myself all over again? If so, I’m excited. There is no one I’d like to get to know more.”
Never look at being alone as a bad thing; look at it as an opportunity to get to know you. Learn how you can live at your happiest. A half empty cup cannot fulfill another; make your cup full.