Alone Time

When I was growing up I hated alone time. I thought being alone meant that you didn’t matter, that you weren’t good enough and that others saw you as a loser, a dork or a nerd. I always surrounded myself with people from sports teams or neighborhood friends or after school groups and clubs. I always had to be a part of something bigger than myself because I didn’t think that I was good enough just by myself. In hindsight, I realize that part of this was the fear of disappointing my parents, sister, coaches, teachers and anyone else that I respected. If I didn’t have friends or belong to a group, I felt less self-worth. If a friend bailed on plans, I believed it was my fault and I must have done something wrong. Instead of doing anything by myself, I would just find someone else to spend time with. Thinking about being alone felt lonely.

As I grew older and I started dating, I felt a sense of value when I was in a relationship. Someone else thought I was worth spending time with so I must be a good person, right?! I thought that being single meant that I wasn’t good enough. As soon as my first relationship ended, I immediately started looking for the next one and the next one and the next one. Once I started my adult life, I was not “single” for more than 6 months at a time and I stayed in some relationships way too long for fear of being lonely. I would rather be in a fizzled-out relationship than be alone.

Little did I realize how important it is to not only be okay to be alone or by oneself, it is essential to being your best self. Alone doesn’t have to mean lonely. You can be surrounded by hundreds of people and still feel lonely. Living in large cities made me realize that!

As I have gotten older, I have learned how important it is to have time to oneself – time to reflect, breathe, relax and be content. If you do not have a chance to be by yourself, you do not have a chance to get to know yourself. I have become my own number one fan, best friend and caregiver. Taking care of and loving oneself is key to being happy in relationships and friendships with others.

As I write this, I am currently on day 7 of 10 days that my wife is out of town. Yes, I miss her AND I am happy to have some time for just me. Five years ago I am not sure I would have felt this way. I have come a long way to understanding that being alone doesn’t mean being lonely. Groups do not mean acceptance. Teams do not mean success. More is not necessarily better.

If I could go back and speak to 13-year-old me, I would say, “Take the time to be by yourself, enjoy the alone time and learn to love yourself. Your future self will thank you!”

sara doell
Sara Doell is a CLCC certified life coach, Division 1 college golf coach, Class A LPGA member, co-creator of the Best Parts Podcast and is now a freaking published author. She is a three-time Big East coach of the year, 2015 LPGA National Coach of the Year and was inducted into the Gates Chili High School Hall of Fame in Rochester, NY in 2016. Sara believes in the law of attraction, that the toilet paper goes over and not under and that Charleston Chews should only be eaten straight out of the freezer. She has an irrational fear of frogs, is a loyal fan of the musical “Rent” and thinks olives taste like feet smell (you will never convince her otherwise). She lives in San Francisco with her wife, Caitlin and their rescue dog named Mr. Harvey Milk who spends his time barking at the toaster oven, peeing on every third tree on dog walks and defending his moms fiercely from squirrels and the mailman. Her future dreams include owning a home in a sleepy beach town that is within an hour of a major metropolitan airport, visiting all 50 states before the Big 5-0, petting a sloth and learning how to play the guitar. You can connect with Sara on her website.

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