I think my ultimate greatest fear is loneliness. Especially feeling alone in a world that is so “connected.”
When I first moved to Australia that loneliness felt real, raw, and was hard to process. Being a busy person from a big family always participating in a team sport, moving across the world knowing barely a soul was a real wake up call. I realized that at 21 years old I really didn’t know how to be alone.
The fear of solitude my whole life had left me with the inability to understand how to hang out with myself. It made me feel like a loaner. The first few months I was here I couldn’t find a job and spent my time purely training, but that only filled up about 25 – 30 hours of the week. Then what? I didn’t want to spend all of my time speaking to family and friends back home when I knew that would only fuel my homesickness. And as much as I loved my teammates I trained with, we could all only spend so much time together. So I was forced to hang out with the only person that was left – me.
Working through the stigma that being by myself means I am lame, weird or anti-social felt hard at first, but then I started to realize that… I quite like me! All the free time allowed me to write, look for jobs and reflect on what I really wanted and needed in my life. Don’t get me wrong it was very hard for a while, but all this time definitely helped diminish my crippling fear of being alone.
At the end of the day of course you want to fill your life with the people you love and shared experiences, but we need to realize that the only person that will stick with you through every waking moment of your life is YOU. It is important to learn that it is okay to be alone and use those times, whether plentiful or few and far between, as times to figure out who you are and what makes you tick. We live in a world that is constantly seeking our superficial attention through screens, shows, apps and devices. If we all wanted we could spend every waking moment “talking” to someone online or distracted by our devices. Think about what we all do as soon as we are standing in line by ourselves waiting for something – we whip out our phone to somehow “connect” and distract ourselves from our own thoughts. But at the end of the day where does all this connection leave us? Uncomfortable with being with our own thoughts or feeling lonely? Feeling even more disconnect by the superficial connections in the virtual world? Don’t get me wrong, I am not perfect, I do the same most of the time, but I am working on changing that.
So I challenge you, as I challenge myself, to get comfortable to hanging out with YOU and your own thoughts. Use some of that alone time to allow yourself the freedom of self discovery. Figure out things that make you happy or even reflect on where you want to be! Only when we truly come to understand ourselves do we know who we are and what we want in life, but we need to give ourselves the time and the space to do that – free of something tempting our attention!
After filling almost every moment up with spending time with people I love while at home or chatting with the ones I miss in Perth – HECK YES I was damn scared again to go back to my life with more seclusion in Australia. HECK Yes it makes me want to grab my phone and artificially fill that hole and fear of loneliness. But, I want to live life as the best version of myself, and to do that I know I need time for disconnection and reflection on my own. I have a lot that I need to work on in my alone time on my plight of self-love, honesty, and authenticity – and I challenge you to do the same in whatever area of your life you want to improve <3
Signing out to put the phone down to go hang out with the coolest person I know ;-)