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A friend of mine once said “you are always surrounding yourself with people and always on the go – I think you don’t like your own company”.

The life I had lead and certainly the life many of us lead, involves us being surrounded by and often actively involved with other people.

It’s kind of a nice human trait I think, the desire to interact with others.

But the question of not liking my own company was always one that picked away at the back of my brain. Was my friend right? Did I not like my own company? Was I just a social butterfly? Was I just great at organising stuff? I’m sure my charm and good looks had a lot do with it!

I had to challenge this assertion that I didn’t like my own company. So I got a job that required me to fly throughout Australia to many cities and towns. I was in my element during the day, as I was training people so I had everyone’s full attention. But at night, I went back to a hotel room, eating my meal on an awkward chair having to twist my head in various ways to be able to see the TV. This didn’t come naturally to me!

I ended up heading out and making friends in each of the places I went to regularly – one in every port so they say!

I learnt over the few years that I did this role that I needed to get the balance right between heading out on a weeknight and learning to relax in my hotel room.

It was a slow process. Because, as it happens, my friend was right. Well half right. I don’t agree that I didn’t like my own company, but I had never invested energy into learning how to spend time alone. But I am very lucky that I did. I’ll explain.

Since 2011 I have spent years – yes years, at home alone during the day. And I am completely comfortable with it.

Recently I heard that the number one type of housing status in Australia is people living on their own. I was stunned.

I guess we have single people, university students living in 1 room apartments, widows and widowers living alone far beyond their partners passing, for some it’s about only being able to afford a 1-bedroom apartment so they have to live alone if they are single.

And then there are people who lay down on the couch at night, put the TV or the music onto whatever they want, eating whatever they choose, the heater is set where they like it. They choose the peace that living alone can bring.

Why am I writing about this? Because I do wonder about people who haven’t yet learned to like their own company. What happens if being on their own is something thrust upon them due to an unexpected event – how will they cope?

For those of you who haven’t tested yourself to see if you enjoy your company, or if you are always out and about avoiding spending time with your good self, could I encourage you to think about ways to try it?

Spend a weekend at home alone.

Go out for dinner on your own?

Wander off to the movies alone?

Why not stay in a hotel or holiday house alone for 2-3 nights?

Coming up with new ways to keep myself calm and settled with my own company is an ongoing task. I’m glad I learnt to do it of my own volition and not because it was forced upon me.

We don’t know what comes next – be prepared!

 

With hearty thanks for reading,

That Heart Guy

Pete

 

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