I love experiencing new things with people. I adore watching their faces light up with excitement and fascination, knowing that the glow on their face is but a sliver of the warmth they feel in their soul. Have you ever taken a moment to notice that? It’s stunning.
But what I also love, and what I sometimes crave, is experiencing new things by myself.
I crave the stillness, the quiet. I crave the breath and the calm. I crave knowing who I am to myself and being happy with what I find.
This past weekend, I spent four nights in Salt Lake City for a work conference. It was my first time to Utah, and since I’d recently been itching to travel somewhere new, this was a square-peg-in-a-square-hole fit. The snow-dusted Rocky Mountains welcomed me as I landed in the early evening, and I thought about what my mom said before my flight. She told me, “You’ll have an ‘alone weekend’ but not a ‘lonely’ weekend. And that’s just fine for you.”
During those four nights, I took myself on a few dates. I hope this isn’t a new idea for you — dating yourself. I suppose it might sound weird, but I think it’s a very important, very beautiful act. Why not take a few hours here or there to do something you enjoy, purposefully on your own, and stay committed to it? Meaning, put your phone away, fight any awkwardness you feel, and just enjoy where you are and who you are. Maybe it’s to a movie or to a concert. Perhaps it’s a long walk through the park or a trip to a museum. I’m sure you can find something; after all, you know yourself better than anyone else.
For my first self-date, I took myself to listen to the Mormon Tabernacle Choir rehearse. Truthfully, I wanted to lie down and nap after my journey from NYC, but when I saw that they only rehearsed on Thursdays, I knew I’d be upset if I slept instead of venturing out to hear a world-renowned choir. I hopped in a car, and off I went. The woman who drove me to Temple Square said, “It doesn’t matter what religion you are; this is something everyone can experience and enjoy.” And then there I was, sitting in the second pew, entranced by the harmonies that permeated the room. I didn’t have to think; I simply had to listen. I could close my eyes and let the sound be.
But my favorite self-date of the trip included walking, and lots of it. I asked the front desk where I could have the best view of the mountains, so they gave me a map and told me to head just beyond the Capitol. I was warned that there would be a steep hill in my path, which was fine by me — I knew it would just lead to a better view.
I made it to the top of the hill just as the sun began to set. I simply stood there, and I watched the sun travel from the east to the west, painting the sky with a gorgeous pallet of colors behind the strength of the mountains. And I was quiet. I didn’t have to do anything; I simply had to look. I could stand there and let the beauty be.
Yes, both of these experiences would have been wonderful if they had been shared with others. As I said, I adore sharing life with people. I’m a clear-cut “people person.” But I also think I can learn a lot about myself and re-charge from within if sometimes I do things on my own.
I didn’t have to put my thoughts into words. I didn’t have to find something to break the silence. In fact, I welcomed it. All I had to do was just be.