Just Me

I’m going for a run in the morning. Well, I say ‘run’, but given that I’ve not been out for nearly a year it’s more likely to be a short, red-faced limp around the park, but at least its a start.  However, the most important part of the whole thing is that I am going to run alone.

I’m not very good at doing things alone. I like my own company when I’m at home, but when it comes to going out, I prefer to find a willing accomplice. When it comes to running, its in case I get mugged, get lost, have an accident, or more likely, just fail to maintain the necessary level of enthusiasm and just give up, go home, and curl up on the sofa instead.

But it’s not just when it comes to running. There’s a new exhibition at Somerset House that I dearly wish to see. I’m not even sure when it’s on, but mostly, the reason I know that I won’t get there is that I won’t find someone to go with me. My lovely boyfriend, who is quite often my partner-in-crime draws the line at Isabella Blow exhibitions, it seems! Even if I could find someone to tag along with, I doubt we’d be able to organise our diaries anyway.

I’ve had a handful of occasions when my desire to do something outweighs my fear of doing things alone. But mostly, and definitely when it comes to running, my fear of doing things alone keeps me from doing things at all. But waiting for someone else to share my plans, experiences, or even running habits means waiting too long. Exhibitions close, opportunities disappear, days pass. What I need to do is realise the bottom line: if I want to do something, it means I have to pluck up the courage to do it on my own. And it’s not like I’m a child – I’m 37 years old, for heaven’s sake. Why am I so scared the whole damn time? Well, sometimes, I’ve attempted to brave things alone, and it’s gone wrong. A particular example is the tech event I attended on my own, only to find that everyone else there not only knew loads more about tech than I did, but also knew each other. My nerve just couldn’t hold and I left, in tears, for the first bus home. Yet, the letterpress workshop, which kept me awake for two nights with nerves beforehand, was utterly wonderful, and a real highlight of my year.

This is in danger of sounding like ‘One is Fun’, the most depressingly named cookbook of all time (sorry Delia) but it’s not meant to be like that. It’s meant to be a call-to-arms. A wake-up call to myself. The truth of the situation is that I’ll never know how things will turn out unless I give them a try. And the good thing is, that if I try to be brave enough to fly solo, there will be no more waiting. As my theme tune says, ‘The Time Is Now’. So, self, it’s time to get cracking…

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5 Comments to “Just Me”

  1. Hoorah for doing things alone! I hope the run went well. And if it didn’t, maybe try again tomorrow and that’ll be better?!

    I’m always doing things on my own but it’s mainly through stubbornness rather than courage. If I really want to do something I’ll do it regardless of someone else coming with. That’s how I ended up backpacking on my own – twice! I was so determined to see the world, I went anyway. Much to parent’s horror.

    The way I always see it, if somebody else can do it, why can’t I?

    I totally get the event thing though. For years, I hated networking, corporate or even just social events where I didn’t know anyone. I’ve left a few in tears too. Sometimes you just don’t find your type of people there. This year I made it a mission to go to at least one event on my own. And even though I still find it scary, I am getting less nervous each time.

    • I rather like the thought of doing it out of stubbornness – and so admire you for doing so much travelling alone, I do wish I’d seen a bit more of the world before having kids, although I’m still planning to see more of it!

      It’s so true about the networking thing. I keep seeing blogging conferences that I’d like to attend but thinking that everyone will know everyone and I’ll be left alone so I end up not booking them. But, I hope to pluck up the courage next year to attend one on my own! You’re so right, the only way to get over it, is to do it and see what happens…

  2. I used to be really rubbish at going places alone, and still can be. A turning point for me was when a friend kept cancelling on gigs just as I was about to set off to the station or sometimes with a little more notice.

    By that point I’d already paid for my ticket so I was loathe not to go and I learnt to go to gigs alone. Now I go to the theatre alone and films, though generally only at the film festival, and if I really want to go somewhere I don’t tend to ask anyone to go with me, I just book it so I don’t miss out.

    I know what you mean about conferences though, I don’t find them the easiest to attend alone but once you get through the awkwardness the relief at the end does tend to be worth it.

    Maybe consider a day trip to Somerset House where you’re not alone for too long in London alone but you have enough time to see the exhibition? I always walk everywhere when I’m alone in London because after a 2 hour train, walking gives me something to do alone without noticing 🙂

    • I think that’s a great philosophy. I don’t mind going to the cinema alone, but that’s basically because I don’t have conversations there anyway – but I like idea of just booking something you really want, so you don’t miss out. I know I’ve missed lots of things in the past because I’ve been waiting to find a companion and so often, once a chance has gone, it doesn’t come back. If I can get myself to London, I’ll go to that exhibition!

  3. I’m a bit odd in that I actually prefer running alone, although alone does often mean with the dog! I love the peace it gives me to clear my mind and just relax rather than having to make conversation.

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