Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Alone v. Lonely

The week before I moved, I had an unbooked evening and was in dire need of a break from packing so I decided to take in a movie.  I had asked a couple of girlfriends if they were available - they weren't, but I decided to go anyways!

I saw the movie, "Midnight in Paris".  I really, really liked it.  It's a Woody Allen film so it is a bit quirky but I definitely enjoyed it.  When the opening scene came on the screen, without thinking, my hand went to my heart and I audibly gasped!  Seeing the sights of Paris made me grin ear-to-ear!  They showed so many places that I walked by or visited.  I felt like an insider when I recognized the interior of a museum  they visited (l'Orangerie) as well as various street corners and cafes.  It definitely made my heart ache a bit for Paris, but I know I will be back there again!

I really enjoy going to movies by myself.  Sure, it's nice to have company so you could discuss the movie afterwards.  But seeing a movie alone doesn't take away from the experience.  I've had conversations with other people about seeing movies alone and I am always surprised when people tell me that they wouldn't go to a movie alone. 

I guess at this point of my life, there aren't many things I wouldn't do alone.  I mean, I went to Paris by myself so clearly, I am really comfortable being alone.  The way I see it, if I wait until I have someone to go to a movie with or go to Paris with, I could be waiting forever.  I'd rather do these things alone than not at all!

It's interesting because it seems like some people confuse being alone with being lonely.  I won't say that I am never lonely - I was extremely lonely this spring as I spent hour upon hour at my dining room table, studying away.  But in general, I really don't feel lonely and I am proud of the fact that I will pretty much do anything by myself, whether it's going to a movie, eating dinner, or traveling to another country.

How do you feel about being alone?  Are you comfortable going to movies, dining, or traveling alone?  I think that as we age, we become more comfortable with being alone - at least that has been my experience.

28 comments:

Kay Bee said...

I've actually gotten to the point where I'd rather see a movie alone. At first it was really weird, but then I really got to sit back and take it all in without trying to mask my reactions or answer questions from whomever I was with.
My newest issue I'm working through is dining out alone. I work weird hours, so a lot of the time I'm off shift when others are working. And I want to go out and try restaurants, but in the past, I've been too nervous to go on my own.
I still fight through my own issues with loneliness, but I'm trying to at least get myself out there, alone or not. :)
Glad you enjoyed the movie!

Sarah said...

Not going to lie: I LOVE being alone. Love it. I like having company, too, but I have no hang ups being alone.
And I frequenly watch movies, dine and travel alone. Sure it's great to have someone to share those things with, but it's nice to be alone with my own thoughts sometimes, as well.

For me, it has nothing to do with age (although I think growing up and becoming more comfortable in your own skin makes others more comfortable about being alone). I've always liked being on my own. Maybe because I was an only child for 8 years...

Maris (In Good Taste) said...

I think you have a very positive and healthy attitude.

J said...

I think i would rather go to a movie alone than eat out alone. I hate how ppl look at you funny when you are eating out alone - its like you are so alone and they are wondering why you are alone.

Carolina John said...

I love being alone. Kelley doesn't like to travel and she won't get on a plane, so whenever I get to fly anywhere and explore a new city or just try something by myself it is glorious. Of course there were times when I was here in Raleigh and she and the kids were in NC when I was quite lonely last year, but in general I am very comfortable being alone.

Gracie (Complicated Day) said...

What a thoughtful post! I love the observation about waiting - I think people do this too often in life, with whatever situation they think they need to wait for. "I'll take dancing lessons when I lose ten pounds", "I'll buy a dog when I own a house", etc.

Raquelita said...

I am an extrovert so I crave social interaction. However, I can appreciate being alone and pride myself on being independent. I've gone to movies and dined alone when I wanted to go out and no one was available, and I've traveled on my own for both research and fun.

I really want to see that movie!

Allison Blass said...

Having a husband means that I don't really get to do much alone anymore, but I did spend one evening out a few months ago where I went to dinner and then a movie alone. And it felt really nice! I love going places by myself, because it gives me time to think and absorb things for myself, rather than having to focus on another person. And since I work from home, I am home alone all day long, so I don't really crave it as much as I used to because I get enough of it on a daily basis. But alone and lonely are definitely different things!

Marlys said...

I applaud your attitude, and being alone is definitely different than being lonely! I think some people can be lonely when they are surrounded by others! That sounds strange but it can be the truth!
I love alone time even though I'm happily married to your Father! But I have yet to go to a movie alone, which I think sounds intriguing!

missris said...

I've never been to a movie by myself but I eat out by myself all the time, which people tend to think is weird. I find it lovely! You can order whenever/whatever you want and read, write, or just sit there and people watch. Alone and lonely are definitely NOT the same thing!

Amber @ A Little Pink in the Cornfields said...

We could be long lost sisters, really. I don't mind doing much alone and sometimes prefer it. I don't consider myself a loner though, but when I say that, I feel like one!

I remember the first time I went to see a movie alone. I was 22 and living in Kansas City. I had plans to go see a movie with a girl that I worked with. On my way to the theater she called to cancel. Since I was already on my way I decided I would just go. I wanted to see the movie! I ended up enjoying the experience so much that I don't think twice about going to a movie alone. The only time I wouldn't go would be on a weekend night.

When I worked for CLL I traveled so much that it was not a big deal to sit at a bar and eat dinner or go to a movie. I kind of miss that time and sometimes think about going a small vacay alone - perhaps to the Black Hills or somewhere semi-close and relaxing just to get away!

Jess said...

I only just got to a point where I'm comfortable with going to the movies by myself. I went and saw Harry Potter on my own one really hot Monday afternoon because I wasn't working and I needed to get into some air conditioning. I knew I was comfortable with it when I was openly weeping at the end and didn't care what people thought.

I really do think being comfortable with yourself is so important. I'm on my way there, but I still have some work to do.

Nilsa @ SoMi Speaks said...

I have always been a very social person, with a large group of friends who always provided a reason to go out. When I bought my condo, I began spending more time at home and alone (mostly, to save some money). I learned to love that quiet time without the need to speak. Now that my home is filled with a husband, child and dog, I revel in the quiet moments I get in the car or shopping for food. It's not the same, but I do appreciate those moments where I don't have to interact with anyone!

Kyria @ Travel Spot said...

Great post! Very thought provoking.

I have actually never been to the movies alone. But that is not a very good example for me, as I don't really go to the movies WITH other people either. I guess I just don't go to movies.

HOWEVER, I eat alone all the time. I travel alone ALL THE TIME. I like being alone. It IS nice to be able to share memories, or movie recaps with someone, but on the other hand, I like making my own choices, and not feeling like I have to explain myself to someone.

And, like you said, and this is perfect: if you wait for someone else, you may wait forever. So just go out and do what YOU want. I am so with you there!

The only setback is that sometimes without someone else to say, "Let's do this!" I lack motivation. I am happy to sit at home reading; I don't need to go out. But when I do, I always have fun!

Whoa, I guess I had an opinion about this! And lots of CAPS! haha.

Nora said...

I'm very comfortable going to dinner, movies, shopping, even big scary doctor's appointments by myself (alone). Does it make me feel lonely? Not very often. It has in the past, but as I get older, I have no issues doing something on my own.

Like you said, sometimes we'd be waiting forever and we can't have that!

I really want to see Midnight in Paris; can't wait for it to come to netflix!

Great post too, btw!

Amber (Girl with the red hair) said...

Love this post! I have actually never gone to a movie alone but I've gone out for dinner and lunch alone a few times. I've always enjoyed the experience and never felt "awkward". I think alone time can be VERY rewarding and I really enjoy spending my time by myself every once in awhile, though I will admit that I often prefer to be with people!

crystal said...

Well I have mentioned many times how much I love being alone, so that is no surprise :) I do actually prefer movies alone, but do know many people who think that is crazy!

I love this post though because I agree that many people equate alone with lonely and there is just such a big difference. I am rarely lonely when alone, but have experienced painful feelings of being lonely when in a big group of people and I don't feel seen or heard. That to me is lonely!

Vanessa said...

I have always wanted to see a movie alone and just haven't found time for it! Being newly single gives me an opportunity for things like that, I guess. :D

Kelly (She Wears a Red Sox Cap) said...

I am willing to do a lot alone too (though it's funny how years of being with someone can make it harder again- not the actual act of being alone which is still fine for me, but after having a 6'4 bodyguard for 6 years now I get scared without Eric way more often even doing things that 6 years ago would not have phased me). I've traveled alone, I'll eat alone and I definitely don't mind being home alone and having lots of me time. I wouldn't go to a movie alone but thats because I really almost never go to the movies at all- seriously cannot remember the last time I went so when I do go it's usually because someone asks me.I just have no problem waiting until it comes out on DVD- I watch a lot of movies alone at home but I like watching movies at home because then I can read blogs etc at the same time haha.

Lauren @ Sassy Molassy said...

OOh, that sounds like a good movie if not only for the views of Paris. Before the manfriend, I went almost everywhere alone. Occasionally, I went to bars alone and sat talking to the bar tenders or just people watching. The one thing I couldn't do alone was go into a sit down restaurant and order dinner. I had a meltdown the one time I attempted to do that. :)

Stephany said...

I love being alone. Love, love, love it. It's one reason for me to get my own place is to have my own space and not have to worry about anyone else. :) But that'll have to wait for another year at least. I've never gone to a movie alone but I should. It seems like it would be a good experience!

Mandy said...

Love this post friend. I am a huge fan of being alone. Going to the movies or eating along has never really bothered me. I do think that as one gets older, the more comfortable they get being by themselves. At least thats how its worked for me.

Jess said...

I have a husband of eleven years and four children, and sometimes I'm so damned lonely it aches.

And sometimes I just want to be alone, desperately.

They're not the same thing at all, and bring with them such different emotions. I adore being alone. Movies, restaurants, trips. I'll go by myself in a heartbeat.

Becky said...

Being lonely and being alone are DEFINITELY not the same thing, but you're right, people confuse the two all the time.

I also agree that you get more comfortable being alone as you get older, because you get more comfortable in your own skin.

I think I might go to a movie alone this weekend! :)

AshleyD said...

I love being alone- going to the movies, eating dinner, whatever. My favorite way to spend my weekends is completely alone (or with one close friend).

pinkflipflops said...

I kind of like being alone all the time. I do creep out of my aloneness sometimes to hang with others. ;)

Jolene - EverydayFoodie said...

I have never gone to a movie alone or to a nice restaurant (only fast food), but I traveled alone once and it was awesome!

Shoshanah said...

First I've heard great things about this movie. My parents loved it, told me I would love it to, but I have yet to see it.

And I'm guessing it may come off as surprising, but I've never been to a movie alone. I do think it's kind of silly when I really think about it, after all it's not like you're socializing during the film, but I still like being with someone so I can comment to them on various thing throughout the film.