Why Keeping Myself Company Does Not Mean I'm Lonely

Why Keeping Myself Company Does Not Mean I'm Lonely

The importance of spending time alone and why it's often overlooked

Spending time alone is something that is often perceived as sad and pity-worthy. It is viewed as a result of loneliness, and not something anyone would do by choice. However, alone time can be more valuable than everyone thinks. I like to consider myself and extrovert with introvert qualities and moments. I love to meet people, and to keep busy enjoying life with loved ones. But I also like to unwind and have "me time" to recharge. I need time to think about my life, ask myself how I see the world and what I need. Like many college students, I am busy all day at work; I'm "on" all the time. Whether I am learning how to use certain programs or completing projects for my boss, I am focused on my relationships with others. These relationships give me life and my world meaning, but they also remind me that I need to look after myself.

Today, I went for a hike. I lathered myself in bug spray, and drove out to a beautiful state park in my area. I hopped out of the car and disappeared into the woods. I hiked for almost 2 hours, completely alone, and it was exactly the therapy I needed to cap off a busy week of dinners, meetings, and assignments. I passed some people on the trails, but mostly, I only had the company of my Nalgene, car keys, and my phone, (turned to silent, and only on me in case of emergency, or great photo opportunities). After my adventures, I felt fulfilled and ready to return home... after I stopped for ice cream from one of my childhood favorites'. There was once a storefront 5 minutes from my house, but it closed many years ago, and I hadn't had their ice cream since; today I was near an alternate location, and couldn't pass up the opportunity. I walked in, ordered, and enjoyed my ice cream in a small old fashioned glass bowl, at my own little table.

Even though I spent most of my day alone, I did not for one moment feel lonely; I had a wonderful day of thoughts, observations, and quiet. The wildlife around me reminded me of how unique and special Earth is. My mind and body were able to release and empty themselves of the stresses they've been encountering all week, because the only thing that mattered was putting one foot in front of the other. I didn't worry about getting lost, because I had nowhere to be, no one to meet, and no one to let down when I didn't show up on time. Today I felt extra curious, so explored a little bit more than usual, and took some paths "less traveled by." Again, I didn't worry about where they led because I trusted that as long as I stayed on one, it would lead me somewhere safe.

Whether it's a hike in the woods, journaling under a tree, or dining out by yourself, spending time alone is something everyone should do every once in a while. Instead of defaulting to the assumption that someone is alone because he has no one to be with, we should see it as a reminder to do the same - to actively choose to be alone. I love spending time with people who are important to me, and my life would be drastically different without them. However, nothing quite compares to spending time with only my own company. It allows me to reset, and appreciate life a little better, at my own pace, and with more clarity than anything else.

So the next time you're feeling overwhelmed, or want to do something without the expectation of entertaining someone else or their needs, by all means just do it, and do it alone. In reality, no one you encounter when you're alone is really watching or cares anyway, and you'll come out feeling refreshed and fulfilled in a way that you can only reach by yourself. Alone time doesn't mean you don't have an otherwise full life. In fact, if you feel a need to get away and be by yourself, it probably means your life is that much fuller to begin with. Then, after "you" time, you can return to your routine with an even clearer, more heightened level of energy and appreciation for it than before.

Cover Image Credit: Ellie Pinto

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8 Reasons Why My Dad Is the Most Important Man In My Life

Forever my number one guy.

Growing up, there's been one consistent man I can always count on, my father. In any aspect of my life, my dad has always been there, showing me unconditional love and respect every day. No matter what, I know that my dad will always be the most important man in my life for many reasons.

1. He has always been there.

Literally. From the day I was born until today, I have never not been able to count on my dad to be there for me, uplift me and be the best dad he can be.

2. He learned to adapt and suffer through girly trends to make me happy.

I'm sure when my dad was younger and pictured his future, he didn't think about the Barbie pretend pageants, dressing up as a princess, perfecting my pigtails and enduring other countless girly events. My dad never turned me down when I wanted to play a game, no matter what and was always willing to help me pick out cute outfits and do my hair before preschool.

3. He sends the cutest texts.

Random text messages since I have gotten my own cell phone have always come my way from my dad. Those randoms "I love you so much" and "I am so proud of you" never fail to make me smile, and I can always count on my dad for an adorable text message when I'm feeling down.

4. He taught me how to be brave.

When I needed to learn how to swim, he threw me in the pool. When I needed to learn how to ride a bike, he went alongside me and made sure I didn't fall too badly. When I needed to learn how to drive, he was there next to me, making sure I didn't crash.

5. He encourages me to best the best I can be.

My dad sees the best in me, no matter how much I fail. He's always there to support me and turn my failures into successes. He can sit on the phone with me for hours, talking future career stuff and listening to me lay out my future plans and goals. He wants the absolute best for me, and no is never an option, he is always willing to do whatever it takes to get me where I need to be.

6. He gets sentimental way too often, but it's cute.

Whether you're sitting down at the kitchen table, reminiscing about your childhood, or that one song comes on that your dad insists you will dance to together on your wedding day, your dad's emotions often come out in the cutest possible way, forever reminding you how loved you are.

7. He supports you, emotionally and financially.

Need to vent about a guy in your life that isn't treating you well? My dad is there. Need some extra cash to help fund spring break? He's there for that, too.

8. He shows me how I should be treated.

Yes, my dad treats me like a princess, and I don't expect every guy I meet to wait on me hand and foot, but I do expect respect, and that's exactly what my dad showed I deserve. From the way he loves, admires, and respects me, he shows me that there are guys out there who will one day come along and treat me like that. My dad always advises me to not put up with less than I deserve and assures me that the right guy will come along one day.

For these reasons and more, my dad will forever be my No. 1 man. I love you!

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An Incurable Disease Doesn't Change The Love I Have For You

Because one day the one you love the most is fine and the next day they're not, it causes devastation you never truly recover from.


Loving someone with an incurable disease is the most emotionally straining thing I have ever experienced.

My significant other and I have been together for almost six years. During the summer of 2018, we all noticed the significant changes he was going through. He had lost around fifty pounds and had a lack of appetite. We had figured something was going on, however, we didn't realize it was anything serious.

Fast forward to the Fall semester of 2018. I had visited my boyfriend and we had expressed certain concerns, such as, through the night I would try and get him to stop uncontrollably itching his legs to the point of bleeding, or that he was looking a little yellow and was exhausted all the time. After seeing his sister in November, while I was at school, she pleaded with him to go to urgent care because he did not look good. He was yellow, exhausted, and very sickly looking. We didn't realize that the urgent care visit would be the precedent of the rest of our lives.

After coming home for Thanksgiving and spending a week straight in the hospital with him, it finally set in that something was not right. Between all the vomit, getting moved for testing, the weakness, the constant calling for medications because the pain was so severe, and the almost month-long stay in the hospital, it hit me full force that something was really wrong. Words will never truly describe the emotions I was feeling, or the burden of my thoughts that I felt were too selfish to pass on anyone, so I kept them to myself.

When we finally got the diagnosis, we were surprised. PSC, otherwise known as Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis, is an incurable liver disease that affects the bile ducts which become scarred and inflamed, more likely than not lead to cirrhosis and an inevitable transplant. There was no cure, rather the only solution was a liver transplant, and even then the disease can be recurring.

I was thinking selfishly. I was torn in two. What would our future look like? Could we have children? Could we ever do the things we used to?

Loving someone with an incurable disease is a mix of emotions. There is a constant fear in the back of my mind that he is going to wake up in intense pain and have to be rushed to the hospital. There is a constant fear of every time waiting for the bi-weekly blood test results to come back, in fear that his Bilirubin spiked again or he is undergoing a flare up and needs to be hospitalized. There is a constant anxiety that one day he's going to be fine, and the next day he won't be. Even the simple things, such as laying beside one another, was a constant fear I had, due to the pain he was in every day. What if I hit him in my sleep on accident? What if I accidentally hugged a little too tightly and caused him pain?

Loving someone with an incurable disease can be a fluctuation of emotions, however, he makes it worth it.


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