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Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Solo Satisfaction

Pretty sure that everyone in my generation can name a line from a John Hughes movie that defines them as a person. Mine is from Some Kind of Wonderful.

Amanda: "Remember how I said I’d rather be with someone for the wrong reasons… than alone for the right ones? I’d rather be right."

Amanda was (mostly) talking about relationships and being with a guy, but this line actually struck a loud, resonant chord with me at a fairly young age. I realized that if I waited around for other people to do things with me, I'd never get to do what I wanted and I would miss out on some pretty amazing experiences.

Over the years, I have grown incredibly comfortable with going places and doing things entirely on my own. I acknowledge that several might have been more fun if I'd have had company, but I'm so glad I did not sit at home and miss out. Here are the most notable:

My best friend and I went every year together, until a few years back she couldn't attend the final day. I had paid for all three days, and both The National and Arcade Fire were playing, so I sure as heck wasn't going to miss them. After I jostled for position in the massive crowd, I claimed my spot by pulling out my iPhone and reading a book on it. It was "Never Love a  Lawman" by Jo Goodman, which I adored.

Siouxsie and the Banshees reunited about a decade back and I saw them at the Vic Theatre in Chicago. A super tiny venue, I stood so close to the stage I could count the rhinestones on Siouxsie Sioux's bra after she stripped down. This was less fun than I thought it was going to be.

After my daughter was born, I got a solo subscription to the Goodman Theatre in Chicago, just so I could have a night out to myself and expose myself to culture and feed the creative well. While some plays blew my mind, others did not. Still, I loved doing this.

Countless. I probably go to more movies alone than with other people.

Had to get used to this when I used to travel a lot for work. Probably my least favorite out of all of them, but if I need food I will do this without complaint. Sushi bars are probably the best for this. Also, a book is a necessity.

Maybe the best thing to do by yourself because you can go at your own pace, see what you want to see, skip over things you don't like, sit in front of an exhibit for an hour, or chat up a docent without feeling like someone else is pulling you away. Museums are made for solo wanderers.

Gambling in Vegas: 
This one was against my will. I'd spent a weekend with my sister there, and all flights home were canceled on the day I was supposed to fly out because of some horrible plane emergency. I was forced to stay over another night. Gambling without company isn't really fun. But! I won back all the money I'd lost over the last two days!

What about you? Are you comfortable doing things on your time, at your own pace, all by yourself? Or do you need a companion to break out of your shell or to enhance the experience?


  1. Wow, Hanna. You've done quite a few things on your own. I'm with you on the museums. I like to look at my own pace and not have someone saying, "Hey, look at this." I used to travel to Memphis by myself to see exhibits when I lived closer. The Ottoman Empire was my favorite. I feel the same way about shopping. I don't like to shop with other people. Other times I'm very happy to have a companion. Dining is definitely enhanced with good company. :)

  2. I sort of went to England by myself..it was a tour, though, which meant I had companions once I got there. I didn't know anyone, but made fabulous friends!

  3. I do an awful lot of things on my own. I'm an introvert, and so I find I tend to enjoy some things if I do them by myself far more than if I'm in a group. One or two others is fine, but it doesn't hurt my feelings in the least to go off by myself.

    Movies, concerts, dining out, sporting events, vacations...I'm not opposed to doing any of those things by myself. I go to movies by myself more often than I go with someone. I have gone to a couple of concerts alone. I've been to more sporting events by myself than I have with someone, and never have a problem. I LOVE taking vacations by myself, because then I can go off and explore whatever it is I want to explore when I want to explore it, without worrying about what my companions want to do. The hardest of them is dining out alone, but if I take something with me (iPad, book, etc.) then I find it isn't nearly as difficult. :) But since I eat alone at home all the time, it really isn't that out of the ordinary for me.

    Now, that's not to say that I don't enjoy doing those things with other people too. I do. But sometimes, it's nice to be on my own for some of it.

  4. Because I spend all my time with my less than companionable children (ie they are boys and do what boys do...fight all the time), I like to go out and be with adults. However I've started doing more things by myself.

    Because otherwise I'd go nowhere. I recently saw Jekyll and Hyde The Musical by myself. I missed Mary Poppins but that was my fault because I didn't verify dates to get tickets. I've started going to the movies by myself. I used to drag friends because I really hated going alone. But I 'manned up' and have been happily vegging in expensive theaters to see great cinema like GI Joe: Retaliation all by myself. ;)

    Unlike Catherine, I don't eat out alone. I'll take it home to eat rather than eat alone at a table. Flashbacks to high school should be avoided at all costs.

    1. The good thing about going to a movie alone is you don't have to compromise on what movie to see and you don't have to share your popcorn. :)

  5. I don't mind eating or traveling alone. A book is a must. I don't like going to the movies alone. I tweeted.

    1. Thanks, Ella. I don't mind traveling alone, because it's nice to only have myself to worry about for once. :)

  6. I used to prefer to do things with others but now that I'm a mama without a moment to scratch my butt in peace, I would give up half of my brain to do things alone. Bahaha!