"Life is what happens when you're busy making other plans."
I had a breakthrough last week. Not of the earth shattering variety, but a breakthrough in my world nonetheless. I went to the movies by myself. Intentionally. I know, I know, this sounds ridiculous, but coming from someone who has always made an effort to experience what I consider "shared cultural activities" with others, this was kind of a big deal. Ironically, I've done the shopping/museum/and even travel thing solo, but somehow I just always thought I was supposed to do movies or theater with someone else because I never had the self confidence to do them on my own. After all, everyone would immediately notice I was by myself, no significant other or friend at my side, and thereby, clearly, ALONE.
Why? Well, I'm one of those people who had her life all planned out. Neat and orderly. Married by 25, first baby by 27, established career, you know, your average run of the mill schedule. I remember planning my wedding with my cousin when we were about five-years-old. (I wanted a large wedding party with each bridesmaid wearing a different colored pastel dress. Me, pastel?! That's the last thing I'd want today!) Fast forward about twenty-five years, and there's no significant other (Hello, Hugh Jackman...where are you?!), no kids on the horizon, and considering I work in a college library with about zero prospects on the romantic front and am still on the fence about online dating, I'm at an impasse. There's no built-in plus one, and most of my friends are married with families and extra responsibilities. So, when I decided to buy myself a solo ticket to the theatre last June, it was a big step for me. I was going into the unknown without a safety net. No one to go with, sit with, and, obviously, talk with. I don't know what I expected, but the experience was relatively painless. Nobody laughed at me or pointed out I was there by myself. I even had a pleasant conversation with the woman sitting next to me, who - get this - was also flying solo. (granted, she was about 30 years older than me, but still.) Then a few weeks later I went to the ballet and now the movies. I suppose I finally recognized (or perhaps admitted) my relationship status won't be changing tomorrow so maybe I should embrace the single thing and enjoy life as it is...
After all, why do I always need someone to do things with? Why can't I enjoy and be comfortable with my own company instead of publicly avoiding it at all costs? Sure, somethings are better enjoyed with others (who doesn't want a travel companion or shopping buddy?), and I certainly won't hesitate to organize future group outings, but I also won't avoid going at things solo. I've always been on the shy side and missed out on lots of fun opportunities during my high school years because I was too scared to do them. Then came college when I didn't have much time for anything, and the last half of my 20s was overshadowed by family health/job crises. I know I missed out on chances, but there's no point in wallowing in regret about the past. All I can do is work to change the future, not waste anymore time, and experience life to its fullest...today.
Maybe there is something to this 30s-is-the-best-decade thing. :-)