I have a Life List (some call them Bucket Lists) of things I want to do in my life. Whenever I get into a funk I look at the list to see if there is something I can try to accomplish to help me get my mojo back. The other day I was thinking about my list and some of the things that aren’t on it – namely, the things I accomplished before I had a list. I realized that some of the things that really shaped who I am today are the things I did entirely by myself. They will be the things I’ll strongly encourage my own daughter to try in her life.
~Move Away – When I was 24 years old, I moved from Los Angeles to New York City, away from all of my family and friends. It was scary and a bit lonely at first, but I quickly realized that I was in charge of my own fate. I had to make friends to combat the loneliness. I had to figure out a new city and how to get around. I only had myself to rely on, and I realized I was much more capable than I ever thought.
~Live Alone – When I moved across the country, I moved into my very own apartment. I’d always had roommates, so it was a huge change for me, but I loved it. I was able to decorate however I wanted, play my own music, watch TV at all hours – it was awesome. I also had to make my own meals, do the shopping, change light bulbs, kill bugs, clean, and do a million other chores that I’d managed to share with roommates in the past. I couldn’t blame a messy apartment on someone else, so I got very good at keeping things tidy and in order.
~Movies and Meals – Going to movies and meals alone seemed crazy to me at first. But one of my first jobs out of college had odd hours, so if I wanted to see a movie I usually had to go during the day when the rest of my friends were working. I enjoyed going to the movies solo so much that I stopped wanting to go with my friends at all! It was nice to be able to sit quietly and just absorb the story, without wondering if the person I was with was also enjoying it. Eating alone in a restaurant was a bigger challenge for me. Movies are a silent activity, but meals definitely are not. It was hard for me to sit alone in a restaurant at first, so I usually brought a book or magazine with me. Eventually I became more comfortable putting down the books and just enjoying my meal and people watching.
~Be a Tourist – By this I mean, “explore where you live.” I’m lucky that I’ve lived in two cool places: New York City and Los Angeles. I used to plan entire days dedicated to sightseeing. I’d pack my purse with a camera and a map, and off I’d go. I’ve seen some amazing things, historical things, and super tacky things. Even when I’ve lived in less-glamorous places, I would take a day to see local attractions. I became an expert at public transportation and using a map (especially back in the pre-smart phone days). I am now very confident when I’m in new places, thanks to my map-reading skills.
What are some of the things you hope your kids accomplish “solo?”