When I was in middle school, I would make it my only mission to hang out with friends. Every weekend my friends and I would eagerly call each other's house phones (we had all of them memorized by heart) asking them if they wanted to come over and then anxiously waited for their parents' approval. Any second alone was "boring." Which is kind of insane because I grew up with five other siblings, so I was already never alone.

When I got older, in high school, it was never "cool" to be seen alone. Whether it was getting food, shopping or going to the movie theater, I always had a friend with me. Even going to the restroom in public places was like a field trip for my friends and me. Any second alone, especially out in public, was either boring or considered awkward (a word that is way overused).

Now, in college, I have learned the same rules do not apply. Being alone is not the same thing as loneliness. Being alone is now almost considered sacred to me. At 21-years-old I have finally grown to understand the joys of being alone. When you're by yourself and no eyes are on you, you are your truest self (I believe). You don't feel the need to talk or entertain, you can just relax. The joys of watching a whole season of "Game of Thrones" in one sitting in silence, and without being judged, is amazing. Going to a coffee shop alone and reading a book or writing in a journal is almost empowering. Though these are things that are also enjoyed with good company, doing them alone and being on your own is just as enjoyable.

I think through life we go through stages of how we feel about being alone. At the younger ages, pre-school through fourth grade, being alone is seen as scary, which is 100% expected. In middle school, we dedicate our time to planning sleepovers and hanging out after school. In high school, being alone is seen as lame. And then finally, in college and onward, being alone is treasured. No background noise, just silence. And this silence isn't associated with loneliness, its associated with independence and peace.