Being Alone

On Friday night, I went to a movie on my own. (I saw The Amazing Spiderman. Have you seen it? It’s so good!) I hadn’t been to a movie by myself for ages and it felt great. I think I was craving some alone time after all the family reunion-ing and social interactions we’ve had since we arrived in the U.S.

When my kids woke up the next day and heard I’d been to a movie — by myself — they were kind of astounded. They know it’s not unusual for me to run errands alone, but I guess they haven’t seen me do something that’s traditionally social on my own. My conversation with my kids reminded me of this beautiful video:

Tell me, friends. Do you ever seek solo time? Do you ever go to dinner or the movies on your own? Do you like it or does it make you feel lonely? Do your kids seek alone time?

P.S. — My phone is still broken. So funny how much I miss it!

66 thoughts on “Being Alone”

  1. i so long for some alone time and it had never occurred to me to go to a movie by myself. i just might do that! that first photo is amazing by the way. and so are you.

  2. Movies. Alone. My secret guilty pleasure. Large diet coke, medium popcorn. No sharing. Nobody needing something. Could not love it more.

  3. OK, it’s hard to imagine that with SIX kids you’d get away with seeing SPIDERMAN alone! Maybe another movie, but I think my 4-year old’s spider-senses would be tingling if I attempted that!

  4. Yes – I love my alone time – reading a magazine or book or daydreaming. I had a day off last week and took myself to a movie as well – what a treat!

  5. There is an art to enjoying alone time. I think the older I become the more I appreciate time to myself. I love shopping alone, that way I am not rushed and I can try on as much as I wish.

  6. I’m kind of a loner. I find it easier to do stuff alone than arrange all the dynamics required to do stuff with other people. I’ve been to many a movie alone, though now I hardly have the patience to sit through a whole movie at the theater.

  7. I’ve always enjoyed time by myself, but now that I have two little kids to care for it feels all-the-more special when I do get to squeeze it in. If I have a long list of non-kid-friendly errands to run sometimes I’ll have a babysitter come over and then I’ll squeeze in the time to eat lunch by myself in a restaurant during my errands. It’s refreshing.

  8. I don’t mind being alone, but I think it’s over-rated.

    I’d much prefer to eat with someone, read next to my husband, or be in a car with someone else. I really like being with someone else. My alone time occurs every morning between 5-6:30 when my kids are still asleep & it’s just me in a quiet house. Love this way to start the day, because then I’m ready to be with my kids when they wake up since I’ve already had “me” time for the day!

    (Were you disappointed at all by anything in the movie? It’s only been a few years since the last one with Toby McGuire, so I’ve thought it would be hard to watch & not compare with the others, which I thought were fab.)

  9. For the past few years, I go to lunch by myself on my birthday. I’m a mother of three young children and it feels so decadent to take my time with my meal, only think about myself when I order food (and not what my kids would like), and to have quiet! I also try and not have my iPhone out, I like to just sit and eat and think… and celebrate ME!

    Before I was a mother, I used to travel occasionally for work and would eat by myself at really great restaurants (since my work was footing the bill) – I loved it. There’s no shame in a table for one.

  10. I am an extroverted introvert! I need my alone time to recharge and actively seek it out. Even when I was at ALT this past January having a fab time, I escaped to my room by myself every once in a while to have a breather.

    I have no problem traveling by myself, seeing movies on my own or eating in a restaurant alone. I think it’s just part of my personality – and whether you are more introverted or extroverted, you really need to know what feeds your energy so that you do know how to recharge.

  11. I love doing things alone. I remember one time while studying abroad in college, my roommates asked what I was doing and I told them that I was going to the mall. They, of course, invited themselves, and I kindly explained that I just wanted some alone time, but maybe i’ll see them there. Somehow, even in our early 20’s, they understood that.

    I think that’s a big part of my commitment issues: the idea of never living alone again petrifies me.

  12. Oh yes. This is the greatest joy of traveling for work. A tv to myself (or my netflix queue). Dinners with just me and a good book. I miss my kids terribly, but it is so wonderful to have the chance to recharge my batteries!

  13. Funny, I went to see The Avengers alone last week, too. I loved it! And I didn’t mind one bit that I was there alone (with my Milk Duds). I think there’s a big difference between choosing to have alone time and feeling alone/lonely. Choosing alone time can be so refreshing, fulfilling, maybe even liberating. Feeling alone is the opposite, no?

  14. I do relate to this. That’s part of the reason why I work outside my home – I can take the tube alone, escape my lovely colleagues at lunch, then reconnect with my three lovely and lively kids. I also travel a few times a year, and love my time on my own on the plane, train, restaurants, hotel room – absolutely bliss but of course for the very reason that I know it’s rare and I can see my kids and husband very soon. Very spoilt.
    Thank you for bringing this up – definitely a much needed breather in busy lives. Have a lovely time at home this summer (with a few solo breathers)!

  15. As a mother of a 3 and 2 year old… she lost me at being alone in the bathroom. But it sounds dreamy.

  16. All my kids are in school, so I get alone time pretty much every day. Later this summer I’ll be taking them on a trip to see my parents by myself, and since we live far away from them, the grandparents want to have ‘alone time’ with the kids in the form of a sleepover. Fine! I say. I’ll de-camp to a hotel in a nearby town and they can have a fun overnight, while i get pampered too!
    a win-win, in my opninion.

  17. I love being with people, especially my two little boys and their father. But I also crave aloneness every so often. And not just to run to the grocery store without the kids, but actual quality time with myself.

    I took some yesterday, actually, after family dinner. It was just an hour an a half on a little walk around the pond at the local park, but it was refreshing.

    I love the part in that amazing video about sitting on the park bench alone and having a conversation with a stranger. Last night an older man and his dog told me all about the fauna of the pond in the park: the koi were dumped by a guy leaving the area on military duty, the heron used to nest in the weeping willow until they cut it down–so the birds moved to the little grove of trees near where the beaver family lives…though he didn’t know if the beaver were still around, since it had been a few weeks since he saw them. It was a really nice, unexpected meeting. Kind of nice to talk with someone I don’t know, and probably won’t see again. Just strangers enjoying the nice weather on a Sunday Evening in the park.

  18. I love alone time. And maybe that is because I have four little ones and silence is in scarce. I feel a little more human and little more myself after I have been alone with myself. Perhaps, because I can hear myself think once the noise fades out a bit.

    As for going to the movies by myself….it is one of my favorite things to do. It’s the ultimate escape. I have a lot of friends that think it’s strange but it’s never bothered me and I’ve really grown to enjoy it.

    xo . trina

  19. This is an interesting comment thread. With no spouse and no chidren and mostly married friends, I spend a lot of time alone at the movies. Just saw a movie on my own last week (Moonrise Kingdom). I crave going to a movie with others and then discussing over dinner or drinks. Now that would be a real treat.

  20. I used to be embarrassed to go places by myself, because I thought people would make assumptions about me. But I moved to Paris by myself, and I was essentially forced to be alone a lot of the time, especially at first. So, now I love to go eat in restaurants alone, or go to a museum alone, and I especially love going to the movies alone. I think it’s important to have time alone–life these days is so chaotic and connected, it’s nice to just experience something and be able to absorb it.

  21. I have to be alone or I get very cranky. I wake up early, before my son and husband, and read blogs, write posts, have coffee, and pin things. I love having that time of the day to myself.

    When I went to Alt in January it was the very first time I’d been away from my son overnight. He was 18 months old and I had such mixed feelings about spending a a few nights on my own. Part of me couldn’t wait for a luxurious hotel room and king-sized bed all to myself, but the other part was tempted to stay home because I didn’t want to leave my son. The first night was the hardest, then I began to relax into being the “me” part of me instead of the “mom” part.

  22. ‘Amazing Spiderman’ was so good. I got the privilage of seeing it with my two boys and my 19 year old Nephew last week — Mom’s night out with “the guys”. I totally reminisced with the boys about seeing the last Matrix movie in the same theater (em, quite some time ago…). They couldn’t believe that Mom loved the Matrix AND went to the movies alone—such a nerd/rebel combo :)

    Alone has never meant lonely to me and I hope it never does. I wish the same, and encourage it, in my kids.

  23. I used to love having someone always near me. To go places with, or to just sit with. BUT now I have 3 kids 4 and under, one breastfeeding. Now I just want to be alone.

  24. My little man is 11 months, so I’m pretty sure if I ever had the chance to see a movie by myself (which sounds amazing) I’d probably bring a blanket and sleep!!!

  25. I love going to the movies by myself — typically I go see whatever “art” or indie movie is available in my rather blah suburban theater, and quite often, it’s pretty empty in the theater, too — further underscoring the fact that I’m alone. I don’t mind — but do feel a little self-conscious when I laugh out loud!

  26. Interesting post. Wow, is the appreciation of ‘aloneness’ perspective. I was an only child for almost 9 years, and then even after I was home alone a lot still. Both my parents worked, so it was usually a few hours after I would come home from school that they would arrive. I am very outgoing and social. I HATED the quiet and being alone… I would often spend as much time as I could outside playing with neighbors, and dreaded rainy days. I am now married with three older kids (all teens). I still hate when my husband and children are gone for extend periods of time. I love having them near me. Actually, right now all three teens are sitting around me reading, drawing, and writing. Even though, they are not interacting with me I love having them (and pets)buzzing around … That does NOT mean they don’t make me crazy sometimes, they are teens. I love experiencing life with my husband, my bestfriend. I love having someone to discuss the movie or share the food or even the sunset with. To me, if someone isn’t there to share in the sunset part of the joy is lost. That being said, if I was commenting about 15 years ago when I had three kids under 3 my response could be different! It is perspective I guess….

  27. I crave alone time! Since having kids I’ve not got that alone time very often. Sometimes I take a walk on Sunday afternoon’s after church and that feels really nice. Not to have to push the pram and just give my brain a rest. I need to do that more often.

    Every year for Mother’s Day my sister gets a day to herself. She gets breakfast in bed and then she goes out on the town herself. No errands. Just shops she wants to go to. She see’s a film, grabs lunch, and sits at the book store for hours reading. She sometimes get a massage. Then comes home to dinner made by the kids and her husband. I think that kind of day sounds amazing!! I want that Mother’s Day from now on.

  28. There are several activities that I prefer to do alone, e.g. shopping for clothes or books, going to the museum, visiting the spa etc. And there are others that I hate to do alone like eating at a restaurant or travelling (…unfortunately I have to do both quite often because of my job). As much as I love my family – I think I’d go crazy without my “alone times”. For me it’s usually the Saturdays. My boyfriend runs errands with our daughter and afterwards they go swimming while I spend some time browsing shops I like, reading or just enjoying the empty house ;)

  29. Thank you for sharing that exquisite video, Gabrielle!

    I am traveling to Copenhagen (all the way from Australia) on a solo trip to my girlfriend’s wedding, leaving my husband (AKA best friend) behind.

    I was sad at first, but then quickly remembered how nice it is that I get to have this wonderful solo adventure! Now I couldn’t be more excited. This video really spoke to me and will be the theme for my trip!

    …and I love sneaking off to the movies alone!


  30. Before we moved out of state, I went to a favorite park every once in a while when I wanted to think. I sat on a park bench that overlooked a river and beautiful bridge. I would think, journal and/or pray. It was always refreshing yet a smidge odd being there alone without my kids. But it was worth it. Now we live by the beach and I need to get on some walks or go swimming – alone. With 4 littles I need time by myself!

  31. Beautiful video – thanks!

    I recognized my favourite cafe – Steve-O-Renos, a little restaurant: “Il Mercado” and the Winston Churchill statue – all of Halifax Nova Scotia. My home!

  32. I am recently single after being in a long term relationship. I find myself doing things by myself that I had been doing with someone else for so long. It has been both a challenge and a treat to be able to stroll up to a restaurant to a table for one. Thanks for the reminder that sometimes going at it alone can be a wonderful gift.

  33. Thank you so much for this wonderful post.

    I’m about the same age as you, Gabrielle, but have never been married and have no children. Much of the time, I’m not alone by choice but by necessity.

    The extraordinary video made me feel better, on a day when I sorely needed it.

    I also want to say how much I love your entire website. Even though our lifestyles are worlds apart, I love your ethos and the way you live your life. There’s an integrity in it that shines through everything you write. So, thank you.

  34. Being pregnant with my first, I selfishly seek out a lot of alone time as I know it will be so much harder to find come November. This post is a complete validation for my planned trip to the movies alone today.

  35. Um, I have never met a mother of young children that does not CRAVE alone time. I am hankering for some alone time right now, big time! I’ve got an 8 month old and a three year old, I work full time, we are trying to sell our house, and on and on…so many things get in the way of my scheduled alone time, until I have to just GO or I will have my own temper tantrum:) Movies by myself- love. Sitting alone at a bookstore – favorite thing ever. Wine at a bistro alone – yep, I’ve done it. Going for a long, long walk, alone (not with even the dog) – the time when I am most at peace. My birthday is Saturday – I think I will give myself a present and do all of the above things ALONE!! Then go out for a nice dinner with my husband.

  36. I just saw “To Rome, With Love” alone, while my kids where at summer camp. It was great! I pick a movie I want to see, just to remind myself I still have an individual voice, separate from my “mommy & wife” self.

  37. the only only time i get currently is when i go to the grocery store or target by myself at night, when my husband is at home to watch the kids. errands are my luxury. but when i was in college i took a film as art class, and we were required to see at least two movies at our university’s “international cinema” every week. i had to go by myself because i had to fit them into my crammed schedule, and i couldn’t really plan for any of my friends or roommates to be there too. some of the best experiences of my young life happened in that movie theater, watching “the bicycle thief” and “the scent of green papaya” and “pather panchali” and dozens of other movies that changed the way i see the world forever. and that all happened as i sat there by myself.

  38. Oh for sure…I often crave alone time. Every day pretty much….especially in the bath, with a really great book! :) It is so valuable…..I wonder what I did all the time before kids? No idea!

  39. I lived alone (for the first and only time) when I was 26 and now look back on that time as one of the best periods of my life. Now that I am married and the mother of two young boys, my alone time is precious. On a daily basis, I try to find sometime to read. My office will usually let us out early the day before a holiday, so I take advantage of that and go see a movie by myself. I have also started a tradition of celebrating my birthday alone at the spa. I hope I can one day get the courage to travel alone. I love being a wife and a mother, but sometimes I just need to do whatever it is that pleases my heart and soul.

  40. I love both a photo and a video. Since I got my children, I crave to be on my own. I need piece and quite and really have no need to socialize. :)
    Imagine going dancing by yourself… I don’t think I would ever be able to do it.

    My older son can’t stand to be alone or to do anything on his own. It drives me crazy and worries me. I wish I knew how to teach him this very important skill.

    That is great that you got some time for yourself. :)

  41. Alone time! For the longest time people have been telling me to get a running partner, but I just love being outside by myself, just a person, not a mother or neighbor or wife for an hour (though I adore those roles), listening to a book on my iPod, no expectations on me other than to put one foot in front of the other. I read this book, Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking and it really validated that need I have to recharge alone so I can be on my best game the rest of the time!

    And goodness sakes, I’m so bummed I’ve had no Blair family sightings the past little while you’ve been in Provo! Come say hi any time you like! (And did you see the Islamic art exhibit at the MOA? Whoa.)

  42. I love going to the movies by myself! My husband is a huge BYU football fan and watches every game. I don’t watch football at all. So we’ve worked out this deal where he keeps the kids home with him to indoctrinate them into the ways of BYU football while I go to a movie by myself every Saturday during the season. It’s a fantastic deal for both of us. We’ve been doing it for years and I now look forward to football season because of it.

  43. I love going to movies alone so I can get completely lost in the film and not worry about someone talking to me about something that just happened or telling me they need more soda, popcorn or a trip to the bathroom. But eating alone makes me very sad because I grew up with food being such a communal event, not something you did alone. Even now, if I’m by myself in the house at lunch time (a rare occasion), I make the dog or cat come near the table. Oh, that sounds really odd, doesn’t it? LOL

  44. I am pretty much always alone – I vacation by myself, go out to eat by myself, go to the movies by myself, etc. And many people find it weird. It helps that I live in a town where I don’t have many friends. I don’t mind it so much and it’s nice that I can force myself to be social on very specific times/dates and then go back to being alone.

    I was going to continue in this comment but a) I have a blog of my own. ;-) and b) It makes me look like the saddest person on the planet! But I swear it totally works for me.

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