“Freeing yourself was one thing; claiming ownership of that freed self was another.”
— Toni Morrison
It came Wednesday, March 8th, at 7:27 pm–the breakup text that changed everything. It’s not like I didn’t see it coming, but it was just out of the blue enough to really rattle me. It took a few months after that to actually complete the grieving cycle; and it still hurts even now, truthfully, but only when I think about it. Hence why I try to stay busy. I, being the hopeless romantic that I am, knew then that this one was going to take awhile to get over, which is why I’ve decided to put dating on the back burner and do some soul searching. The rest of 2018 is about being good to myself and discovering who I really am by way of going places and doing things independently of others. In other words, I’ve started to date myself, and quite frankly, my whole life has improved. I think it’s extremely rewarding to find activities to do by yourself. With this mentality, I started actually doing the things I’ve always wanted to do, while learning to be more secure in being alone. While losing the person I thought was “the one” was absolutely devastating, it was also the kick in the ass I needed to get my life together. I feel no animosity towards her; in fact, I will forever be indebted.
I know the whole idea can be totally intimidating at first, but dating yourself strengthens your sense of independence, builds confidence, and increases your self-awareness. And so, if you’re looking for fun, affordable opportunities that will provide introspection and growth to you as an individual, here are some of the activities I have pursued and you can too! For your consideration:
Hiking is probably the activity that has brought me the most peace and tranquility post-breakup. I think exploration is so important and it’s been a great way to get out of my own head/way and just appreciate the vastness of nature. My goal this summer is to hike a different PA state park every weekend, and I haven’t missed one yet! I find it to be a really cool and healthy way to decompress from the craziness of the week before (and I’m someone who struggles to find healthy outlets most of the time). I’ve been very much in awe of the places I’ve seen so far. The more physically demanding the better!
ANYTHING WITH ANIMALS
Since I was a child I always found great comfort and emotional support through animals. When Spring semester ended, my treat to myself was visiting Milky Way Farm–a working farm that is open to the public and allows you to pet the goats!
MOVIES ARE A MUST
Going to the movies is my favorite pastime, so I have to incorporate it! In all honesty, this is an activity I’ve always felt comfortable, and actually, preferred to do alone. Sometimes it’s okay to escape. Sometimes it’s downright healthy, in fact–for survival’s sake. Movies have always been my escape. Back in May, I took my movie-going experience to a whole new level when I attended a Cinema Classics Seminar on one of my favorite films–Thelma & Louise. Both the class and a screening of the movie was held at Bryn Mawr Film Institute (a theater which frequently offers similar special events and showings).
GO TO A CONCERT
The last concert I went to was at World Cafe Live. The artist, Lewis Capaldi, is a Scottish, pop-singer who is not yet very well-known in the United States. His music really helped me through the grieving process, so attending his concert by myself proved a very intimate experience for me.
It’s always a great idea to pay attention to the local events happening in or around your community. These events are usually priced relatively cheaply (sometimes even free of charge) and always make for a lovely night out! For example, the Devon Horse Show is a staple in the town I grew up in, so I was sure to check that out again this year. And back in June, I learned of Bryn Mawr’s Twilight Concert Series. Every Saturday night (weather permitting), the township holds live concerts under the stars. A lot of other townships do the same; Bryn Mawr just happens to be the closest to me!
When you figure out what you’re interested in, you become more efficient in tailoring your dates. Nowadays, I frequently visit Marsh Creek to go kayaking and standup paddle boarding. Most recently, I took myself to a glam rock rendition of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night in Clark Park!
Just so we’re clear, these are all mere suggestions. You are the one who ultimately needs to find what you are uniquely and passionately interested in. And above all else, remember that YOU are the main source of love in your life; so go date yourself!