Recently, I feel that I have started to learn the importance of other people. I have found myself re-evaluating my stance on friendships and relationships. Not necessarily with specific people, but just in general. For a while, I was always coming back to the thought that I was better off on my own. I refused to believe in friendships or put effort into them because I just thought that it didn’t matter if it went anywhere because I was better off alone anyway. This never came from a place of being overwhelmingly lonely and and trying to justify it to myself. I wasn’t sad. I suppose this just came from a place of enjoying myself more being on my own. Upon reflection I think I just hadn’t found my people yet, but either way, I’ve always relished in my alone time and have always felt comfortable and happy in my own company. Sometimes, it’s when I’m happiest.
I feel that alone time is important, for everyone, as it helps you to get to know yourself, understand yourself, make sense of the things happening in your life and process your thoughts. It’s important to allow yourself that opportunity. I need it to piece my thoughts together into a puzzle so it’s not just a jumbled jigsaw of brain. I think it’s important to learn to be comfortable on ones own, because there will be times in life when you have to be. Being alone slows down the pace a little too, because there isn’t a need to keep up with anyone or fit with anyone but yourself.
I used to think that maybe being alone constantly was the best way for me to ‘advance’ in life. And that maybe I needed to be alone in order to get anywhere. Creatively, I mean. I thought that maybe, to be my most creative self, I needed to be alone, and only alone, so as to not allow distraction in. But I’ve decided that that’s not true. For a multitude of reasons. The first being that it taps in to the toxic productivity mindset, and that any activity other than so called productive ones are worth time. But also, other people just shouldn’t be considered a distraction. At the very least not in all instances. I feel that I discovered this a little during lockdown. Now, I’ve been very fortunate where I live to have only been in lockdown a couple of times and neither for very long. The most recent lockdown was only a week long. And while I expected it to end up being an extremely productive and creative week with all of the alone time I was getting, I found myself feeling very drained and really, just missing other people. Missing talking and real life connection and sharing myself with others. Talking online just isn’t the same! I just found myself sinking very deep into my own thoughts and really feeling like I needed some socialising to pull me out of it!
I suppose what I’ve really learned is the importance of balance. It’s also driven home even more the idea that I really am neither an introvert or an extrovert, but somewhere in between. I really need both. Alone time and other people. And learning and knowing this has become very important to me as it helps me to take care of myself in recognising when I need a break, from other people or from myself. And I’ve realise that spending time with other people helps me to better enjoy my time alone, and vice versa. I also appreciate the time spent with other people and real human connection much more when I’ve spent a little time connecting with no one but myself. It’s all equally as important in my cultivating a healthy and happy (and creative!) mind and life for myself.
The thing is, being alone means I’m always being influenced by the same things with the same thoughts ruminating and cycling in my brain. Other people and new experiences are an inspiration. An outside perspective or input. It plants new seeds and starts new ideas a-growing instead of just watering the same dying ones. Movies and poems and Pinterest do that a little but sometimes you just gotta have some real life stuff. Some real life connection. Connection, in its many forms is so beautiful. And when you think about it, really, that’s the root purpose of our existence – to experience life and then share it with each other and grow together and amongst each other. Whether it be just one person or many. Or many different people over the course of our lives.
However, I find there is a pretty fine line between recognising other people as being important and ending up needing them too much. In the sense that, it’s all well and good to have people who are important to you, until you end up sinking into them and relying on them too much that you let them think for you or instead of you. You can’t let someone else do things for you that you could learn yourself or be something that you could be yourself. You can’t rely on other people to do things for you that maybe you find scary, just because that’s easy, when you could experience the reward of conquering a fear and growing as a person. You’re depriving yourself a feeling of accomplishment. You may not see it as such, but the people you let do that are robbing you of your growth.
You have to let yourself be a whole person, and have other people add to you, not displace a chunk of who you are. You cannot let yourself only be whole with someone else or with other people. You need to remember how to care for yourself. You can’t sink too deep into letting someone else care for you to the point where you can only feel cared for with them. Let their care add to your own. I feel that I’m learning to be myself with others. I’m learning the importance of staying true to myself. I used to think that I needed to be alone in order to be wholly myself. But I think I was just with the wrong people.
Something I’ve started to question often is whether things make sense. It’s always easy to just continue on the path you’re on, with the same people, the same places. And while those things may once have made sense for one reason or another, they may not always. I guess it’s important to continue to always be reflecting and re-evaluating whether what you’re doing and where you are makes sense to you. Whether continuing the current path is still making sense, or whether perhaps a change needs to be made. Big or small, doesn’t matter. But the decision to change or a decision to continue are each an equally significant decision. And change may be scary sometimes but it’s also… heartening. And refreshing. And far more fulfilling than the supposed easy path of doing nothing, especially if life can start to make sense again.
This also got me thinking about fate. I’m someone who has always believed in fate, in things that are ‘meant to be’. And maybe it sounds a bit wavy fish but it just computes in my brain. It makes sense to me. Anyway, I was thinking about it, because there have been a couple of things in my life that have seemed very ‘meant to be’ at the time, but then turned out to be not so much. Which very much made me place some mistrust in my ‘meant to be’ radar. But I think that’s a little unfair.
The saying goes that we have one person who is meant for us. A soulmate. And maybe we do have a soulmate. I’d like to think I do. But surely the notion we only have one person who is meant for us disregards every other person who has ever been important or ever will. So maybe we each have many people who are meant for us. And they are each ‘meant to be’ at a different time in our lives. And they are each ‘meant to be’ for their own special reason. And each ‘meant to be’ leads to another. There’s a possible new version of our life around every corner. A new version of ourselves with one extra layer. And perhaps sometimes, when we turn a particular corner, one of our ‘meant to be’ people may turn a different one. And thus, they don’t make sense anymore.
Which brings me back to what I was saying before and actually, at this point, wraps up this very long train of thought into a nice little package, being that the aforementioned very important alone time is what facilitates the reflection and questioning of whether life makes sense. I feel that we are going to be at our most content in life when it feels like it makes sense. We don’t have to have everything we want yet or be everything that we hope to become yet, but when the path we’re on feels like it will get us there, or it’s giving us what we want and need in that moment, it doesn’t need to do anything else. A person doesn’t ever need to do or be anything other that what you need and want in that given moment. Neither does a place. And neither do you. Not everyone or everything needs to be forever. Sometimes for now, is enough. And when it no longer makes sense, you have the power to move forward and make a change. I think it’s easy to forget that sometimes.