Three years ago at this time, I was preparing to come to West Chester University. I was nervous about meeting new friends and finding my place on campus. As the semester wore on, I made so many new friends. At that point, I was so preoccupied with spending time with others that I let my time with myself fall on the back burner.
At this time, I thought I was capable of being on my own. It turns out, however, that I was relying too much on other people to bring me happiness. I realized that to be truly happy with myself, I needed to get to know me. I had this realization right after my boyfriend and I broke up. I needed to learn how to stand on my own two feet again; I couldn’t always depend on my friends to carry me through the day. After all, I have to learn that myself.
I decided to start doing things independently. I went into town and shopped, I ate at restaurants and enjoyed my own company, I sat in the quad and studied and I treated myself to getting my nails done. I learned to find a balance with “me time” and “friends time.”
I love my friends and I wouldn’t trade the times we have for anything, but sometimes I need time to sit with myself. I also learned that I shouldn’t feel guilty for spending time on my own. People shouldn’t judge you for doing things alone, and there is nothing “weird” about it; you’re doing something healthy for yourself.
Initially, it was hard to put myself first, and it sometimes felt odd going places on my own. But after a while, I got into a rhythm and eventually began craving alone time; my down time. I felt out of sync mentally and physically if I didn’t set enough time for myself.
This summer is a perfect time to explore the things that make you happy. You won’t have a full-time class schedule to keep you busy and summer is typically a lower-stress time. Focus on you. If you enjoy working out, go for a run outside. Grab a cup of coffee on the way home from work. The beautiful thing about this is that you can do this on your own.
If you’re feeling especially bold, take a trip to a new place and explore. If you want a more low-key night, sit in your comfiest pajamas and start a new show to binge watch. Sometimes it’s nice to sit with yourself and reflect on your week or an event that just happened.
Being alone shouldn’t be scary. Sometimes it’s difficult to slow down and make time for yourself. It can also be intimidating to sit down with no other focus but yourself. But at the end of the day, who can make you the happiest? Your family, friends and significant other definitely contribute to your happiness, but to be truly happy, you have to be your own best friend.
Make a resolution to do at least one thing on your own this summer–you won’t regret it.
Hannah Blake is a third-year student majoring in early grades and special education with a minor in autism studies. She can be reached at HB831306@wcupa.edu.