why are we (I) so afraid to be alone?

23 Jul

The only time in my life (that I can recall) where I have ever physically been alone was in Alexandra, Victoria, Australia. A part of the “experiential learning” program I did as a semester abroad involved a weekend stay in a remote town at least 2 hours away from the city (Melbourne) and the comforts of known faces (home-stay families) and Americans (other students in the program). I received the name of a town and a bus ticket from the program director… the rest was up to me. I booked a room for two nights at the Shamrock Hotel and Pub, and loaded myself onto an empty bus headed North East.  I listened to the Pixies on the way there and arrived in Alexandra (population 2,000) with big hair, a rolling suitcase and a poka-dot cardigan.

There was little to do there. Apparently, it’s kind of a stop off between the mountains and the city, though at that time of year, I seemed to be in the company of only locals. I walked through the swinging wooden doors of the tavern I was staying in and was greeted by the eyes of about a dozen confused, on-the-way-to-waisted, individuals who all appeared to know one another. Crickets were chirping in the background – for two solid minutes that’s all I could hear. Trev, the owner/bartender/ hotelier passed a “G’day” my way and Bev showed me my room. I put my suitcase on the twin bed and went downstairs to sit in a corner table and drink a beer. No one approached me, and I sure as hell didn’t approach any of them. After a few glasses of some ale, I returned to my room, where I waited for the weekend to be over.

I was alone. I wasn’t miserable. But I was bored. I attempted to make a time line for my semester studies, I played a lot of spider solitaire and I walked aimlessly around the one block of town. I returned to life with not much to report and was told to try to look at the lack of activity as something in of itself (Australians don’t make friends easily, are weary of strangers, cultural differences…). This was hard to do, given that 4 of the other American girls in the group had stories of gallivanting through the woods with burly Aussie men, drinking with a pack of surfers and hooking up with a sailor from New South Wales. Of course, they were all skinny, trendy and conventionally “American” – so their cultural experience was totally different (on many levels, this jut being a prime example of exactly the kind of Americans I was dealing with over there. This is not to say that a few of the Americans in the group ended up being some of my closest friends – they were not however the ones having drugged out orgies with Aussies).

I’m thinking of all of this because I am embarking on journey in about a week and half, and I am preparing to be alone. Of course, I won’t be physically alone very much. I will be living with people I don’t know too well, in an apartment with no common space, surrounded by a city I know only sort of. I’m nervous I will be lonely. I keep reminding myself that I have done so many things completey alone and always loved them. The things that I’ve done independently have always turned out to be amazing and have bettered me and my life. I only hope that this step follows the upward trend. We shall see.

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One Response to “why are we (I) so afraid to be alone?”

  1. emmerly July 27, 2008 at 10:11 am #

    i think it will be good tay. and it’s true you will not be alone. there will be sleep-overs galore, dinner parties, ice cream eatting, and don-che torture sessions. you have become a part of my family tay, and the way i see it, we now just have 2 times the city to play in.

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