A regular conversation about this year’s holiday plans or upcoming musical visits. The usual question: Who’re you going with? My response: I’m going alone. The reaction? Skeptical smiles. Weird looks. Once a friend said she thought I was very brave going to the theatre on my own. This got me thinking. Why is it that going to the theatre or the cinema or a restaurant let alone traveling alone is still something people consider ‘unusual’?
I do things on my own quite a lot. Nowadays. I haven’t always done it and it took me quite a while to do it and actually go on my own. Don’t get me wrong here: I absolutely love my friends. I adore them and I love spending time with them. But obviously not all my friends enjoy the same things. It often starts with the fact that most of my friends don’t actually live close to where I live, so when you want to go and see a movie you don’t always want to get on a 40 minute drive first. Or they just don’t want to see the movie you want to see. Or don’t want to see the show you want to see. Or you just can’t agree on a day to go. Or they just don’t want to go to the concert you so desperately want to go to. You see – there can be different reasons why you won’t find somebody to accompany you. But that doesn’t mean that you have to stay at home!
I booked my first solo travel two years ago when I desperately wanted to go and see We Will Rock You in London. Nothing more. I just wanted to go, see the show and then get back the next day. And I decided to just do it. Without looking for someone to join me. Without wanting to rely on anybody or having to go over everything with anybody. I just wanted to go and actually just go on my own and just be on my own. I get that it might take some courage to go to a restaurant and have a meal all by yourself – I felt a little weird the first time I did it – but I don’t get why attending a show or a concert would make you feel uncomfortable. You arrive at the venue 10 minutes before the show, take your seat, the show starts. No one cares. You’re there to see the show. You’re there for the (theatre) experience. “What about the interval?” Well, that’s just 15 minutes you have to spend on your own. And let’s be real: you’ll most likely spend the entire interval in the queue for the restroom anyway. 😉 But does that make me a brave person? I know some people who find the idea of going to the theatre alone terrifying. Because for some reason they seem to think people will judge them for going on their own.
Believe me: They won’t! Although it is nice to enjoy a show together with someone or rock out at that concert with someone and just share the experience. And to have someone to talk to before the show or in the interval: this is not why I’m going to the theatre or a concert. And to be honest, this is not why I travel to other places either. It’s because I want to see a certain show or a certain artist or a certain place. It’s an experience I want to have and no matter how much I love my friends and how much I love having them around me and seeing a show with them and being able to talk about it with them in the end you will focus on what is happening in front of you and in the end that’s why you’re there. There will be times when you will have to decide wether you want to go on your own or not go at all. In the past I often chose to not go at all and I missed out on a few concerts and shows that I would’ve wanted to see but didn’t, because I just didn’t want to go on my own.
If you’re one of those people, who never tried the whole “just me and my thoughts” thing: Just go for it! Seriously! No one will look at you and judge you. Who knows: You might even end up having a lovely conversation during the interval with a stranger. If you want to do something, do it. If you want to see a show or a movie, see it. If you want to go to that one restaurant, go! If you want to travel somewhere, travel! If you have someone to accompany you and to share the experience with that’s wonderful. But the show won’t be less enjoyable, the movie won’t have a different ending, the food won’t taste differently and the sights won’t look differently if you go on your own.
I actually think that sometimes we need to do things on our own. I know I do. And I think it helped me grow. I never was a very outgoing and communicative person. I guess I never will be. But by now I’m not afraid of talking to strangers. I’m not afraid of starting a conversation if I feel like I want to have one. I’m okay with being on my own. I’m okay with being alone with my thoughts. I actually quite enjoy sitting in a cafe and just watch the world go by. And as I said: the show won’t be any different anyway. 😉
Have you gone to the theatre on your own? Or the cinema? Or a concert?0