By Winnie Yu
From Completely You
When I was young, I hated doing things alone.
I was afraid I'd look like a loser, a sad sack with no friends. I always wanted companionship and would seek out others to join me, whether it was for a quick trip to the mall or a walk in the neighborhood.
But these days, I'm learning that sometimes my own company is all I need and want.
Being by myself gives me time to collect my thoughts and ponder life's challenges. Sometimes, I use the time to plan my day, come up with story ideas and create shopping lists. Other times, I use it to meditate and clear my head. Still other times, I'll bring along a book or some music and allow myself the pleasure of some entertainment.
Some of my time alone is dictated by the work I do: I'm a writer -- perhaps one of the loneliest vocations there is. To ease the isolation, I often seek out friends to eat lunch, go shopping or take a walk. But even these activities are often done alone these days.
Doing things by myself gives me total control of my outing. Take shopping for instance. I love shopping with my daughters or my mom, and I enjoy the occasional jaunt with friends.
But when I go by myself, I can move as fast or as slow as I want. I can choose which stores to go into, and when to eat lunch or stop for a snack. I set the entire agenda and get to come and go as I please.
I also tend to walk alone more often, with the exception of my favorite walking companion, Loki, our Yorkie. Walking with him is almost like walking alone, except when he refuses to budge and makes his case by holding his ground with his 5-pound body.
Still, I'm not a complete loner -- yet. I haven't seen many movies by myself, and I still rarely dine alone. And I'd probably never go on a serious hike or long bike ride by myself for safety reasons. I also like to think of those events as social occasions that are best enjoyed in the company of others.
What's different now, though, is that I no longer worry if I'm alone somewhere, and I certainly don't feel like a loser. I've learned that sometimes the best company is my own.
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