Recently I was talking to someone and they asked me about my plans for the weekend. I shared that I was attending a highly publicized and major event in the area. The person asked if I was going with friends.
I said, “Yeah. Me.”
Them: “You’re going alone?”
Me: “Yes I am”
It wasn’t until that moment that I fully became aware that I was going to this event SOLO.
This was by no means the first event I attended solo. I am quite used to attending events and traveling solo.
But because I was already in my feelings about some other life things at that moment, the conversation stuck out to me. So I had to process my thoughts and feelings. I knew the person meant no ill will. It was just a moment where I had to ask myself, “How do I REALLY feel about this? Why do I feel anything about this?”
So I pondered…
There would be no group photos and excited chatter before the event began. No “usies.” Only selfies.
No debrief of what moments resonated with each individual and how we would apply them to our lives. Just me. Left with my own thoughts and commentary. A profound and life changing memory that only included me.
Would people notice? Would they wonder if I was just a loner or whether I had any friends at all?
Would they shake their heads in pity or nod their heads in solidarity at a woman who wasn’t afraid or too self-conscious to “do her” SOLO.
But most importantly, should I deny myself an opportunity at a life changing or fun experience because I have to experience it solo?
In that moment, I had a choice.
To become self-conscious or self-empowered.
I chose that latter.
What was also funny and interesting about attending the book tour event alone was afterwards the lady sitting next to me touched my arm and with a look of genuine concern on her face said, “Did you come here alone?”
Her tone was almost like “does your mommy know you’re out at night by yourself?”
I wasn’t offended. I simply smiled and said, “No I’m not alone. I’m with myself.”
In that moment I realized OTHER PEOPLE have more issues with my being solo than I do!!!
Call it the necessary unapologetic independence that comes from being an only child, but I am used to entertaining myself.
And I had to learn a LONG time ago and become comfortable with the fact that if I want to have certain experiences, I would have to do so solo.
Please note that I am INTENTIONAL about using the word SOLO rather than alone. While they mean similar (but not exactly the same thing), I think there is an energy and connotation around the word “alone” that is different than solo.
To me, “solo” implies choice and “alone” implies circumstance. There are some things I choose to do by myself. Shopping is top of the list for this. I can spend all day wondering around stores, boutiques, thrift shops, the mall, etc. While there are other things that I’d rather do with others, but I don’t prevent myself from doing it just because I don’t have any one else to do it with. Dining out is one that immediately comes to mind…
I wholeheartedly believe in doing life with a community of like-minded people. I’ve created several communities that have yielded lifelong friendships for me and others.
But I also believe in a life of experiences that I CREATE FOR MYSELF.
What “going solo” looks like for people is highly subjective and individual. So please don’t think that having a partner or children can prevent you from doing something solo. Creating a solo experience for yourself can be as simple as riding in the car in complete silence. Or it could mean taking as little as 5 minutes while you close your eyes and meditate or pray. Or taking a 1/2 day to go a non-animated movie or a movie where nothing blows up (smile). Or to take an hour and stroll through stores with clothes that only you can wear (smile).
One of the ways I became comfortable with solo experiences is traveling. Attending conferences for work or business conferences, I mostly traveled solo. I didn’t want to miss out on the experiences of a new or favorite city because I was traveling by myself.
I remember this one time before Uber and Lyft, I walked like 2 miles (which if you know me #idontexercise, that’s a lot) in Florida because I wanted to try Cuban food. I did not know anyone at this conference, but I wasn’t coming back home without trying Cuban food. So off I trekked down the city streets to experience Cuban food — solo. And I still remember the taste and experience almost a decade later.
I know some of us have the questions and thoughts I posed about doing something solo. We are socialized to be social (yeah I know how that reads lol) and to do things in groups. Especially women. And yes, absolutely, many things are better with people you enjoy. I just want to encourage you to have the experiences and opportunities that you want to–even if you have to do it solo.
So if you me out by myself, I may be rolling solo–but trust me, I am never alone.
What is your favorite thing to do solo? And if you haven’t done that at all or not very often, what is at least one thing you can do solo?
Adeea R. Rogers, known as The Trendy Socialite, believes her calling is to help empower others to develop and pursue their purpose. And as a result, she is known as “The Purpose Pusher.” Adeea seeks to equip others with the motivation and tools necessary to create and design the life they want. Adeea believes in creating the change you want to see through creating events, communities and movements. She created International Natural Hair Meetup Day (INHMD), giving women around the world the opportunity to guide each other in their natural hair journeys. In July 2015, she co-founded Black Biz Live, a community-based initiative where black owned businesses are featured on livestream platforms. Adeea’s perspective on living a purposeful life, personal branding tips, and content marketing ideas, cause her to be a sought-after event host, workshop facilitator, speaker and panelist. She also hosts a podcast, The Trendsetters Podcast. Adeea has a profound love for three things: Her Savior, Jesus Christ, Starbucks, and Statement Jewelry.