It was a sunny and outrageously warm day for us in Edinburgh yesterday (I wore a dress, I repeat, I wore a dress). A high of 73 degree F! This doesn’t compare to what my parents get in Savannah (high of 89 today), but 73 is a British summer, folks. When I woke up and saw how hot it was going to be, I ditched my plans of writing indoors and messaged my friends that don’t have jobs either (they’re students, not unemployed) to make new plans involving the sun, only to find out they couldn’t oblige me and my lack of vitamin D (that’s what the UK and no sun does to a girl).
This posed the dilemma of do I keep my original plan, stay indoors, and accomplish my goal of 1,000 words for the day, OR did I make a new one even though it would be an adventure with me, myself, and I? This sentiment that it’s uncomfortable to be alone in public is something I didn’t understand till recently and something I’ve been working on unlearning. I used to be SO okay with being alone in high school and college. It probably scared my parents, especially when I lived in NYC in the summers of undergrad. I wanted to explore the city, but I had no friends, not because I’m anti social despite what this post is saying, but it was the drawbacks of moving somewhere two months out of the year. But I explored it anyway! I’d try out different coffee shops and restaurants on my bucket list (NYC restaurant favorites post at some point?) that were scattered all over the city and had no problem saying table for one. I’d see movies alone. I’d go to the park alone. I’d go shopping alone. And it didn’t bother me one bit.
More recently in Edinburgh, I’ve realized that I’ve been prone to sitting at home instead of doing something in the city if I don’t have anyone to accompany me. This bothers me that I’ve lost the ability to be alone in public. This may sound like a strange internal conflict to have, but I used to pride myself on being confident enough to sit in a restaurant alone and not be on my phone the whole time. I’d bring a book, I’d write, I’d sit and think. It was great! It was me time and I saw it as that. I wanted to explore the city, so exploring was what I would do!
One pattern I’ve noticed in things I want to write about is that I’m eager to not only change myself or change bad habits, but I want to change my mindset entirely. I think I’ve determined it’s necessary to change your mindset if you want to see a change. You can’t just start doing something differently, you have to believe it and understand the change you’re making and that’s inside your head.
Anyways…I’ve been trying to diagnosis my situation so that I can change my mindset, and the only thing I can think of is I have friends and a boyfriend. This is not a bad thing! I love them all dearly! But just go with me for a moment….If you have people to do things with, you invite them to things. So then you almost grow dependent on them being free for you to leave your house and try that new yoga class or the new café that opened down the street. You think, “Oh, they’ll be free next weekend and we’ll go.” Which is fine! But you can also go today and treat yourself to a little you time. Consider it a treat yourself day and something positive, instead of saying, “I have no friends, so I am sitting alone at this table, poor me.”
So in an effort to get my alone mojo back, I said screw it, I’m going to enjoy the sun alone. I went to Cowan and Son’s (used to be called Maxi’s) and had brunch by the open window to enjoy the perks of the nice day. Then I went for a little walk through Stockbridge. And then I even treated myself to some cake and an iced latte at Leo’s Beanery in New Town. I sat outside at Leo’s to take in all the vitamin D I could get while I also worked on my laptop and actually began sweating (a phenomenon that I didn’t know occurred in Edinburgh). It felt good to sit and enjoy the day I wanted to enjoy with no contingencies on it, like I’ll do it if someone’s free.
Do you need your squad to do something out in the world, or can you chill by yourself and enjoy it just the same? Next time, just say screw it and confidently say yes, just for one and you may surprise yourself and enjoy the freedom of doing what you want when you want it.