This is the time in my life where I not only have my first job out of graduate school, but also the first time moving to a city where I only knew myself and first time living by myself – without family or roommates to converse with on the regular in the comfort of our home. Did I take this on as a challenge? Of course. I wanted to know that I could enjoy my own company and not be reliant on other people to entertain me. It has been difficult at times but I found this article from the Huffington Post and realized that this was a new opportunity for me to explore who I am as an individual.
For me, I was always empathetic for people that went places by themselves. I just wanted to sit down with them and save them from their ’embarrassment’ even though they were perfectly content as they were. I remember whenever I went places alone, I pretended that I was waiting on someone or took out my phone to make it look like I wasn’t ‘alone’. However, with this new mindset of being fearless and being self-reliant, I started taking advantage of those opportunities. I began going to the movies by myself, going to brunch by myself, etc. If someone wanted to come with, no problem, but if not, I wasn’t forlorn and upset, I rolled with it.
With my love of reading, I decided to combine these two into a Book Date – where I’d go to a restaurant, park, wherever and bring my books and eat and read. I realized that I still wanted the energy of people around me, but I could be comfortable not being there with one particular person or a group of people. Being an introvert, I LOVE my ‘me’ time, but I also love being in the presence of others, even if I barely speak a word. This may just seem like a normal thing to do for some bookworms out there, but for me it was a struggle to be that comfortable and ask for a table for 1. I constantly looked around to see who was staring at me, who was wondering if I was here by myself or was being stood up. After awhile, the nonsensical glances around the restaurant and the insecurities lessened. I feel like it’s the same thing when you’re walking into a new building or in a new area – as long as it looks like you know what you are doing and where you are going, no one questions it. That’s how I felt – that I would be a type of ‘regular’ that didn’t need anyone’s approval or sympathy because I was content with what my plan was for the day/night.
My Book Date this weekend took me to the shops in Newport, KY on the Ohio River overlooking the Cincinnati skyline. Such a gorgeous view and a beautiful Spring-like day. My date(s) of choice (yes I couldn’t decide and double/triple-booked myself 🙂 ) were the following:
Me Before You – Jojo Moyes
The Longest Ride – Nicholas Sparks
Room – Emma Donoghue
Bookstore – Deborah Meyler
Whilst I was reading, there was a gathering of young musicians performing various classical pieces of music in front of the parents, loved ones and general shoppers and diners. Additionally, families were taking their family photos out on the balcony as this was the first nice weekend after several snow storms. Diving into these stories wrapped up the theme of family and loved ones and the great lengths they go to protect and support us. Even though I was technically there alone, I felt that I was a part of something bigger as I observed families enjoying each others company and reading about couples and friends that can see past the surface, right to what we really think and feel. I believe that my self-awareness and self-reflection allows me to do just that – I want to understand myself and be sure and confident of who I am before I can have someone else let me in as I let them in. The more I grow older, the more I reflect on life and who I am as an individual. Now how’s that for book date?
Another reason why I instituted this book date was to rid myself of my scheduled life of every hour and every minute of every day. Every thing I do is calculated and structured, attached to some sort of technology so I can stay on top of things and be connected. I listened to a radio broadcast that encourages Tech Free Tuesday, reminding us to put away the phone and just be – with ourselves, with others, etc. I have found that mindset such a relief and have done my best to practice this idea so that it becomes commonplace. I think it is healthy for us to experience once in awhile!
Just like a healthy relationship, it’s good to have a date night/weekend! In the future, I may have some Blind Book Dates!
What kinds of places to do you go to read that are different or not what you expected?