Last week I announced my new Weekly Sip series. I’m really excited to get it started and see how it grows. Like I said before, it’s time to get down to the barest bones of our stories and messages. I’m ready to share mine and I hope you’ll join me for the journey.
I’m going to start with a question: how often do you spend time alone?
For my first installment, I’m talking about my visit to Goodman Coffee Roasters, located in Warehouse Row in downtown Chattanooga. They’re a wholesale and retail coffee roasting business, founded in 2016 in the St. Elmo neighborhood. They opened their retail store in Warehouse Row in October, filling the space once occupied by Brash Coffee.
On that particular Monday morning, I stopped in Goodman before going to work. It was rainy and gloomy already at 7:15am and I wanted to try something new to start my day. I hadn’t been to Goodman yet, although I drive by Warehouse Row almost daily, so I figured it was time I paid a visit.
Goodman’s menu has a nice variety of drinks for every taste: coffee, espresso drinks, tea, chai and more. I’m not a huge fan of drip coffee or cold brew, so I opted for a mocha. Easy enough, and I knew I’d like it.
Side note: I really want to learn how to make pretty latte art. Who can teach me?
I really try not to spend a ton of money on coffee (outside of what I keep at home, of course), because it adds up really quick, but that Monday morning felt like a “treat yourself” kind of morning. It was nice to sip on my mocha by myself and set my focus for the week ahead outside of my office, before I’m thrust into the day’s duties.
We all need alone time, for some reason or another. Maybe some of us are more introverted and crave that alone time; maybe that time is when we thrive. Even the most social, extroverted people need alone time, too. No matter how much you like meeting new people, going out to parties and social events, everyone needs some time alone to reset and refocus. It’s hard to keep going, going, going. No one has that much energy.
The truth is, alone time isn’t always that bad.
In my first year living in Chattanooga, I spent a lot of time by myself, especially in the beginning of 2016. I was newly single and hadn’t spent a lot of time going out, because I’d spent so much time and energy in attempts to continue making my relationship work. I realized I had no friends outside of my coworkers, and I became pretty introverted. Those weeks were extremely difficult, but they were also some of the most crucial months in my personal growth. It gave me plenty of time to look back and reflect on what my life had been like and what changes I wanted to make moving forward. Most of all, I realized I didn’t want to depend on a boyfriend for my social life.
One day, I had an epiphany. The only way I was going to meet people and make friends was to put myself out there and force myself to be more social. I’ve never been a social butterfly, but I’ve also never been shy. Why was this any different? The only thing in my way was, well, me.
Even though I’d become more introverted, I’ve always been very independent. The idea of going to a bar or event by myself was terrifying at first — what if I didn’t meet anyone I connected with? But later I realized that while meeting new people was important, what I was more proud of myself for doing was making that change, embracing my independence and putting myself out there. I even gave online dating a try, not even to meet a companion, just to meet people — let me tell you how well that went (read: it was a nightmare). I quickly found other means of meeting new people that didn’t involve pickup lines and uncomfortable electronic communication.
Yes, it was hard. Yes, it tested my anxiety. Yes, I wondered if I was doing it the “right way.” Yes, I wondered if I would ever find “my people.”
That’s a funny phrase, “the right way.” Each person has her own way to meet and connect with new people. I eventually found what worked for me, and that may be completely different for you, or you, or you. And that’s okay. If I can do it, you can, too. You just have to be confident in yourself and have faith that the right people are out there.
I’ve settled into my more social, outgoing routine, and I’m definitely not afraid to go to an event by myself anymore. But I know that my time alone is still important, and I deserve that time to myself to do what I need to do, whether it’s prepare for the day ahead or unwind and relax.
Spending time alone isn’t always fun or glamorous, but it’s good for you. And I’m okay with that.
How do you like to spend your time alone?