Whether you’re alone by necessity, choice or circumstance, here’s a few simple steps to solitary satisfaction, so you can avoid feeling like this guy:
Step 1: If, like me, you’d rather be alone than in bad company, you’d better learn to like yourself and be your own friend if you aint got no one else. Work through your stuff, get a mental health plan, find a good psychologist to call, read self help books, write a journal or blog or whatever boils your potato.
Step 2: Make the most of what is available to you. Got housemates? Talk to them. You might hit the jackpot (like me) and gain a sweet new insightful and hilarious BFF. Say hello to strangers. Go to gigs and shows on your own. Join committees, take lessons, but value your own time. Don’t go and see a dodgy band at a pub you hate just to get outta the house. If that happens, abort mission, go home and read a good book. I recommend Vonnegut, Steinbeck, Geraldine Brooks and Phryne Fisher’s Murder Mysteries.
Step 3: Chose to be alone, rather than lonely. Hang out with yourself and do cool shit, but do it on purpose. Get a hobby, cook great food, teach yourself guitar, plan your time, read good books, hold solo kitchen dance parties, get hooked on a good TV series. Know what night your favourite show is on, get excited about it, plan a meal around it and shout at the TV. Hell, I can make watching The Voice into an awesome Me Party.
Step 4: Get fit. Exercise IS the most potent and cheapest antidepressant! Workouts ARE important meetings you schedule with yourself and bosses DON’T quit! Soz, but all those lame posters at the gym are true – endorphins are pretty great.
Step 5: Get outdoors. Nature is freaking sweet and will make you feel good just by hanging around in it.
Step 6: Keep in touch. Write postcards and emails. Call people. Call again. Call seven times on different days and times until they answer. If you’re not around getting all up in their grill every day, your friends may actually forget to talk to you unless you keep reminding them. When people say they’ll come and visit, thank them for the thought, but don’t get too excited, especially if you live somewhere ridiculous. They don’t love you any less, they’ve just got more stimulation and less time or money to burn.
Step 7: Be kind to yourself. Do nurturing things. Indulge in guilty pleasures. Know your limits. When I first moved to Alice I went 7 months without leaving. By now I know my threshold is 6-8 weeks before I need to fly back to something familiar for a break.
Step 8: Get a really sweet job doing something rewarding and challenging and stimulating that takes you to amazing places. This makes all those other steps much easier.