I went on an amazing date this week.
We went shopping, had a coffee and enjoyed a ridiculously amazing movie. And she paid! She? Yep, that’s right. I went on a date with myself, and my god, I showed myself a good time…
Why is it that most of us seem to really struggle with the concept of spending time on our own? I don’t mean those nights in front of the television whilst you’re other half or kids are out. I mean going somewhere alone, just to spend sometime getting a bit of peace and quiet? Being in your own head, focussing on what you want/need/feel..?
I’ve always liked the idea of going on a date with myself- treating myself to some quality alone time. It’s something that I’ve feared though, and I honestly don’t know why! I have always been prone to surrounding myself with other people, like being on my own would make me combust or something else equally as dramatic! Until recently, say the past 12-18 months, I would fill every spare minute with plans. Weekends at home would be non-existence, and I’d make sure every day I wasn’t working was chocka-block.
Possibly it’s since having Noah, I’m not sure, but I’ve eased off a bit. I like to make sure my weekends are generally free, especially after having a busy one like when we recently visited London. I’m getting slightly better at being more spontaneous. Slightly! I remember when I first went to counselling as an adult (that’s another story), the main advice I was given was to not make plans. I had to pack on the morning of a trip, not a week before. I had to not map out the next five years of my life. I gradually got better at being less uptight, and having Noah certainly forced my hand. But somehow, spending time in my own company (another piece of advice I was given years ago) was not something I was prepared to do.
I’ve thought about it. A lot. I joke that I’d love to take myself off to a hotel for a night to just chill on my own- think Meredith in Grey’s Anatomy when she escapes McDreamy- RIP- and the kids for a night. PJs, a good book, a bubble bath without disturbances, a minibar… I’m someone who gets overwhelmed by life very easily (hence the sporadic counselling sessions over the past decade or so), and as much as I love my life and my family I do sometimes let things get on top of me and my anxiety can very often sky-rocket. I’m a complex woman, I know, I know!
The further into my thirties that I creep, the more I want to look after myself and my own mental health. I’m tired of bullshitting myself into thinking that I’m superwoman. I’m not. I don’t think I want to be. People would probably think that I’m a fairly confident person, and in many respects I am. But self-confidence and acceptance is something I’m maybe lacking somewhat. I think I know who I am, but how am I going to ever know if I don’t spend some quality time with myself? I know who I am as a mother, as a wife, as a friend, sister, teacher… but take all that away, metaphorically strip me back to just being me, and who the hell am I?! It’s a pretty scary idea and I don’t want to be fearful of it any more.
Putting it bluntly, I can’t be bothered with shit any more. I can’t be dealing with the crap that comes with trying to be who I think other people want or expect me to be. So I’m going to be honest and my true self. I know I sound like I’m reading out of a book of cliches here, but I don’t care! I’m going to probably piss off a few people, but are those who can’t deal with me actually worth having in my life? I feel that to be the best role-model for Noah, and the most invested wife, and the greatest friend, I need to be able to spend time with myself and just be. After all, “if you’re lonely when you’re lone, you’re in bad company”, and I do not want to be someone that I don’t want to spend time with!
After thinking about this for quite sometime, I decided to take myself off to the cinema on Wednesday night to see La La Land. To some, this is the norm and not at all a big deal. Not me! This was such a strange experience! What would people think? A woman alone in the movies? She must be a loner, right? What a weirdo! It didn’t help that Andy didn’t really get what I was doing. At one point he said “Is there nobody in this whole town who would go and see the film with you?”, like what I was doing was the strangest thing he’d ever heard of. Yes, there were plenty of people whom I could’ve asked to come with me. But that wasn’t the point. I didn’t go alone because I haven’t got any friends, I went because I wanted to do something for me. I wanted to see the film, and enjoy it for myself.
Was it strange? Absolutely! When I was waiting for the film to start everyone was chatting amongst themselves, and I was sat simply listening to the buzz. I had to cart all of my belongings to the loo because I couldn’t leave them unattended as I didn’t have someone to watch them for me. I had to get over the notion that people were laughing at the nutter on her own in the pictures (seriously, who cared?). But once I got over myself and the strange feeling vanished, it was a liberating experience. I was immersed in the film- sorry to sound pretentious, but it’s who I am- making my own opinion on it, and I was lost in the world of Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone (dream team, anyone?). It was bloody awesome! I came out of there feeling a little bit more myself, and a little bit more powerful. Would I do it again? Absolutely! The next time Andy is watching the football and I fancy seeing a film, I’m just going to take myself out to the cinema. Glasses on, no make up, casual clothes… I was 100% myself on a date and it was fabulous!
I recommend it to everyone. Make time to enjoy your own company. Life’s too short to waste on dud relationships! Make the one you have with yourself the finest one, and everything else will fall into place!
I said that 2017 was going to be the year I made sure I was deeply happy, and I started posting about #projectme on Instagram and Twitter, and I intend to follow this up for the next 11 months! Am I being selfish? Maybe, but I don’t think so! I’m improving my own mind and well-being, which can surely only be a positive thing for all of my other relationships?
The next time you want to see a movie, or go to a certain restaurant that nobody else fancies, don’t miss out. Go with yourself. You won’t regret it! I promise!
Maybe that night alone in a hotel isn’t a weird dream after all. I can’t wait to see where this relationship goes!