Life's A Beach
On my new quest to discover what it’s like to spend time by myself, I went to the beach and decided to be a alone for a couple days. I thought to myself, “What a better way to self-discover than hearing the beautiful sounds of waves crashing in and falling asleep in the sun?” My ignorance never fails to amuse me.
In last week’s article “Chronicles of a Dateaholic”, I stated how I haven’t truly been alone in the last five years. I quickly realized that maybe jumping into complete solitude isn’t the best way to start self-discovery.
Alas, I was anxious to start to my journey, but soon found that I became increasingly bored on the 4 hour drive to get to my destination. I kept telling myself to not call anyone and to just be content with my own thoughts. I kept flipping through different radio stations, hummed along, made up new songs in my head, but the silence was deafening. The last hour and half was spent chatting with my mom, sister, my friend Monica, and several phone calls to friends who never answered. This whole ‘spending time alone’ with myself was going to be harder than I thought.
When I finally arrived, I walked into the condo, set my stuff down and looked around. No one was there. Not a soul. The quietness of the place kind of threw me off. I was alone. And worse... there was no cell reception.
There is a quote that I have held close for quite some time: “If you are lonely when you’re alone, you are in bad company.” (Jean Paul Sartre)
That quote, even though it is painful to read, holds a lot of truth. My own company in the last few years has been awful. Any time I know I will be alone I try to find some friend, (mostly some random guy) to help fill up the silence in the room. I’m not sure when it exactly became that way for myself. In the silence of my room, I thought about as a child I was able to enjoy everything without being entertained by someone else. I was alone a lot growing up and never complained of being bored or not having someone stay the night all the time. I was totally happy with just me.
But, I grew up and adulthood seems to complicate life more.
First off, let me explain how crazy a person gets when he or she is constantly surrounded by people or with someone, and they find themselves alone with their thoughts for the first time in a long time. It’s a bit overwhelming. So, my saga continued.
Despite no cell reception, I incessantly checked my phone like a crazy person; I walked around the house not knowing what to do with myself; I desperately tried to get a good wi-fi connection; I did everything and anything to try to avoid my thoughts.
I walked to the beach thinking I could at lease do some useful soul searching there. I sat for awhile and reflected on my relationship choices. I tried to revert to something different. I tried not to think about this cute guy that I met at the bar over the weekend, who I really wanted to see again. I tried not to think about how I’ve made the same mistakes concerning men over and over again. However, I got tired of self-loathing so I went for a run.
The run only reminded me how I need to get in better shape.
You would expect that being on the beach would be totally relaxing, but it’s not when you’re trying to figure out how to like yourself and be comfortable with the present moment. It’s the exact opposite of relaxation because most of the time I was there, I was wrestling with my thoughts. My heart was probably really pissed at me.
It was most likely thinking, “Excuse me, but after all this time, now you want to talk? You mean to tell me that you think you can just walk in here after all these years and expect me to welcome you in? You’re crazy!”
I probably expected too much of myself because I had been ignoring me for a long time...maybe not ignoring, more like avoiding.It probably wasn’t a safe assumption to make that I could just waltz into my heart and expect it to be comfortable with my presence.
The energy it took to actually pay attention to myself was excruciating, but worth it. Because after a few hours, I stopped checking my phone. I shut down the computer and walked to beach again, not with the intention of figuring out my life but to just enjoy where I was. I was able to retreat to my room not feeling like I was missing out on a lot because I wasn’t with someone. My own company became less overbearing as time passed.
Learning to by content with yourself takes time and diligence. It’s a process. After years of filling my time with dating random guys and hardly spending a night alone in the last five years, it’s going to take more than me just going to the beach and hanging out.
But, at least I have cell reception now.