“No-Fail” Friday: Only the lonely

Headphones crossing street_Henry Be

Arriving into a Friday afternoon, most of us have one of two primary motivations for the evening ahead: 1) turn up, or 2) curl up. The one of those that sounds most appealing to you on any given Friday may have a lot to do with the kind of week you’ve had, what lies ahead for the rest of your weekend, or even the weather. It’s interesting to notice, though, because a big part of the choice is about whether you’re feeling like you want company or not. It’s about whether you want to be out there with the masses, or at home in the company of yourself, and maybe a select few others.

Are you in or are you out? Or maybe you’re in more of an “ask me in an hour” place. I get that. We all know that usually means you’re staying at home, though. 

We all want a little of each type of night now and then, but we also have internal, default preferences about these things. Often broadly classified as introversion and extroversion, some of us get our energy from being around others, and some of us get it from being with ourselves.

They’re both legit ways to enjoy your weekend time, but there are few of us who are interested in making a regular habit of a whole weekend without any social contact.

(I see you parents out there, saying YES PLEASE WHAT DO I HAVE TO DO TO GET THAT PLEASE. Your current state makes you a notable exception. Also, you will never get that until they leave the house. Or you do. Sorry).

We are social beings, and we crave information about what’s going on around us. Here’s the thing about 2018, though. People often socialize with other people while they’re alone. Safely ensconced in the confines of their little nest, they have hours-long conversations with people all over the world.

Yeah, I know. It’s completely, totally, biologically and psychologically different than in-person social interaction. But it’s also different than time spent without that kind of interaction.

My point is that even when we’re alone, we’re not really alone anymore. In some ways, that’s amazing. In other ways, it’s a little scary. But that doesn’t mean you need to have trepidation about the “no-fail” mindfulness challenge ahead for you this weekend. I mean, you’re awesome, right? Who wouldn’t want to hang out with you?

Your challenge this weekend is to schedule some alone time. Doesn’t have to be long – maybe 15 minutes? More, if you like. Drink your morning coffee without a screen in front of you. Take a walk without taking anything with you. Lie in bed for a few minutes after you wake up, without grabbing your phone right away (hey parents, sorry again…this one’s not for you…#someday). If you bump into a friend on your walk, have your chat, and then start over.

The effort here is simply to notice what happens when you don’t have any external distractions. Where does your mind go? Back to yesterday, or ahead to tomorrow? What’s it like not to know what texts you might have to forgo reading for a few more minutes?

You might love it, you might not. Doesn’t matter. Those are just feelings, and they pass. You, however, will still be there when they do. Might as well get used to yourself.

Photo credit: Henry Be

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