for as social as you would believe me to be (i’ve got you all fooled!), i spend a lot of time alone. in fact, more often than not, i welcome the opportunity to pass the hours with the company of solely me, myself, and i.
does this make me reclusive? possibly. a little depressing? maybe. but while some may deem my affinity for flying solo a bit extreme, i view it as a blessing.
growing up as an only-ish child (i have wonderful step and half siblings, but i am my mother’s only daughter), aside from my imaginary friend becco (yes, with an “o”), i spent a lot of time with adults and/or alone. this made not only for a pretty early maturation, but more importantly, fostered an innate contentment with solitude. while i obviously enjoyed making and cultivating friendships throughout the course of my youth, and most certainly in college, i never outgrew this desire to reserve alone time for at least a portion of the day.
in fact, i can’t help but feel that this longing for “me” time has only grown with age. i find myself gravitating more and more to weekends spent blogging behind a computer screen, poured over edits for my book, or, yes (judge away), glued to a law and order: SVU marathon on the television -the only company being the glow of my two ashland candles (sugar & spice and pumpkin spice) and the croons of british import ben howard.
obviously, i’m not going to sink into a social hibernation and become a complete recluse a la boo radley in to kill a mockingbird any time soon. but after years of apologizing for my love for party of one-ing, i’ve become quite content in confessing my need for a little shawnapalooza every now and again.
i can’t help but think that while most of the population has the whole being okay with being social thing down pat, the whole being okay with being alone thing seems a bit harder a task to master. in fact, someone recently confessed to me that after umpteen years, he had only in the last year finally learned to appreciate alone time. that moments before this revelation had to be continually fed by social interaction with others in order to feel fulfilled. and i don’t think he’s the only one.
i know that we as humans were made for community and that it’s extremely important that we cultivate this sense for belonging by building a support system composed of family members and friends, but i also think that the longest relationship you’ll ever have with anyone is the one you have with yourself, so getting pretty comfortable with the person who greets you in the mirror daily is just as important an endeavor.
i was recently reminded of some pithy sentiments shared by the wise sage herself, ms. mindy kaling. before her mother passed away from cancer, she sat down with her to pen any last words of motherly wisdom.
“I said to her, ‘Mom, I’m going to be so lonely without you.’” She’s crying now but keeps going. “And she just said, ‘You have to be your own best friend. If you always remember that, you will always have someone there with you.’”
you have to be your own best friend.
maybe i’ve been given a head start on fostering this shawna-shawna relationship with that whole being an only-ish child thing (because when there’s no one else to help you play barbies, you really do become your own bestie), but i like to think i’ve been able to recognize the fact that after 27 years of perfecting my knack for sarcasm and the occasional friends reference, well, by golly, i am pretty good company.
so maybe one isn’t the loneliest number.
maybe it’s actually pretty comforting, too.