At lunch today I had a conversation with someone that does a lot of traveling. He’s fortunate that he’s built his career and life so that his work can blend seamlessly into his personal life. And the crossover appears to be something that works. Not everyone can combine work and play. And not everyone wants to, that’s for sure.
But during our conversation the topic of traveling came up. And you see, I’m not a big traveler. My excuse has been that I haven’t gone somewhere — with someone — or experienced that one moment where I caught “the bug”. At least, not yet. When my friend asked why I didn’t travel (sorry Rob, classifying you as a friend already!) simply put, I told him that it’s probably because I haven’t really been asked much by friends, family or significant others. [Not to say no one has ever asked, or that I haven’t traveled, because they have, and I have … but generally speaking, I don’t travel much] He asked why I didn’t travel alone then, and I didn’t have an answer. Huh … I guess I really could. Maybe I should. Yep, that is something I should consider. Probably something I should not just consider but actually do, because thinking about it will get me no where.
And then it got me thinking even more. I DO do things alone and by myself. I started out running by myself – lord knows how many miles I’ve logged with just my thoughts (yep, especially those days before the walkman turned iPod). But since I discovered a running group, truth be told, I log most of my miles with friends, and sometimes even strangers – thanks Mauve. Especially the double digit runs, for which I might die of boredom otherwise. But I now prefer running with friends over running with myself nine times out of 10. Could be because I’m actually that boring (don’t say it, because I am considering that very thought as I write!).
But wait – there is more! I have eaten many a meals, especially while traveling for work, by myself. I actually quite enjoy this – probably because I like the opportunity it brings to meet people. The world is a blank canvas when I walk into a restaurant alone and it’s sort of a challenge to discover who will sit at the bar stool beside me. So while I’m dining alone, I’m actually looking for entertainment and an experience. Maybe it doesn’t count?!?
I go to movies alone. This is a good one … Because someone once told me, or I read it (eeks, it might have been an Anthony Robbins book, like 20 years ago), that going to a movie by yourself was empowering. That is probably why I went. I wanted to feel empowered as a fresh out of school young woman looking for my way in the world. I still go to movies by myself, and they are enjoyable. But movies are sort of a solo thing anyway, right? You can’t talk throughout the movie. If you’re with someone you like, then you can hold hands. If you’re with a really great girlfriend you can sneak in a bottle of wine and sit in the back row and at least smile to yourself knowing that you’re having a moment with a bestie that no one else in theatre will ever know about. Except for the cleaning crew when they discover the wine bottle as they clean up. And if you’re with someone from Alaska, well, then that’s definitely one of the best ways to enjoy a movie without saying a thing. #best.movie.experience.ever
Tonight I went to a concert by myself. I’ve done it before. Saw the Dixie Chicks one year when I was home to visit my family. Totally awesome concert but have to admit – a little different being there by yourself. And of course I would run into someone I knew!! And you should have seen the look on their face when they asked “so who are you with?”. ha ha. But it didn’t stop me. I went again a few years back to Miranda Lambert by myself. Really wanted my Alaska friend to join me, but alas he was out of town. Again, enjoyable, but it felt like something was missing. And lastly, tonight, as I said, I went yet again by myself.
— Okay at this point, you might be wondering WHY am I going to so many concerts by myself. Good question! You see, the main reason is because I love country music and as it turns out, not many (like none) of my friends share in my enjoyment. So it has gotten to the point where I don’t ask anyone to go with me. I simply buy a ticket if I want to go, because I think that going with someone who doesn’t enjoy the music, might actually be worse than going to a concert by yourself.
But back to my story. Shoreline had over 21,000 fans tonight that came out to see Dierks Bentley. Now that’s an interesting number. 21,000 people that live in the Bay Area that LOVE country music (men, women, old, young, HOT, not so hot at all, drunk, sober), you get the picture … but yet not one of those 21,000 people were one of my friends. Why couldn’t just one be my best friend, no forget that, even just a casual acquaintance that I met randomly at a restaurant bar out for dinner one night – that I learned we shared a love for country music and that is the extent of our friendship – we go to concerts together! BUT … Nope! Not even someone like that.
It might sound like I’m complaining, or feeling sorry for myself, but I’m actually not. I just learned that while one can love something a lot, I think in a lot of cases, it’s just way more enjoyable to do it with someone who can enjoy it with you.
My one exception is drinking. And writing a blog. While drinking is super fun with friends (jumping fences, skinny dipping, wine tastings – I should stop right there), right now I’m enjoying tremendously my Crown and Coke as I sit outside my apartment and write this blog. Life is perfect in this moment, even if just one hour ago I felt alone in an amphitheatre with 21,000 people that all shared one of my favorite things to do.
So maybe it’s not about just the things that you love, but knowing the things you love to do with someone, and the things that you love to do without them.