rear view of woman sitting in cafe

My generation prides itself on being diverse, open-minded and creative. We walk with the weight of the world on our shoulders, searching for peace of mind. The one thing we struggle with is finding independence in being alone and being confident enough to do something we want without having to make it a social outing.

There is nothing wrong with going out with friends or family and having a good time, but what if your friends or family are too busy to hang out? Do you just sit at home and forgo doing what you want? Or do you walk out of your door not caring about being alone? I was once afraid to do anything by myself, whether that was going to the movies or grabbing lunch.

My mom and I had just moved to Illinois, and I was having a hard time being away from my family and friends. A few months after moving, I had managed to make a couple friends.

I was feeling ecstatic on one particular day because I was supposed to be going to lunch and a movie with a friend. Energy was bouncing off my skin, charging the room; then I got a text. My friend had gotten caught up doing something, and wouldn’t be able to come.

Resentment rose in my stomach before I pushed it back down, assuring her I understood. And I really did understand. Nothing is set in stone.

I was disappointed, but I couldn’t blame her because a conflict arose in her schedule. I still wanted to go out, but something held me back. I didn’t understand how my self-confidence had gotten so low that I couldn’t go somewhere alone. I looked blankly at the TV, then outside my window to see the sun, staring from behind the clouds, taunting me. The trees rattled, gently swaying as the wind brushed against them. Soon I found myself walking out of my house, shoes tapping the concrete leading up to the restaurant. I walked inside and sat myself down at a small table in the corner.

Anxiety flooded through my body as I sat waiting for the server. I kept glancing around, feeling eyes glaring at me, judging me. My breaths were getting shorter and shorter. I closed my eyes, taking deep breaths.

When I opened my eyes, I found myself relaxing. I stared out in awe of the beauty the sun brought to my attention. I felt the warmth of the soft light with on my fingers. Minutes later the server came up to me, and I allowed a smile to grace my lips.

The rest of the day went by smoothly after I had calmed down. I finished my lunch and went to see a movie. I still fell short of breath when purchasing my ticket, but when I sat down in the dark theater, popcorn clutched in my grip, I realized I was okay.

I gained independence and self-confidence that wasn’t in me before that day. I encourage others not to hold back from doing something because they are alone in doing it. You’ll gain so much. You’ll learn things about yourself that you never knew. You’ll be okay; trust yourself.

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