A friend of mine was recently in a minor panic about traveling by herself. She hasn’t traveled solo in years, and the idea of getting to the airport, the luggage, navigating around and everything else, felt overwhelming.
She hit a trigger in me because I remember recently walking through the airport feeling really proud of myself.
I know, this might sounds sort of silly.
Yet, yup, little ol’ me had an extra skip in her step and definitely an aura of “I’m an independent badass” while walking through the airport, simply because I was going from one destination to another all by my… yup, 39-year old self. I know, I’m incredible.
(remember when eight-year olds could practically go on flights by ourselves?)
I Uber’ed solo, handled my baggage and my own boarding pass, got my Mentos, pretzel M&Ms and Starbucks, and got my tush in the correct seat right on time.
Hand this girl a medal, and just call me Beyonce. Actually, Beyonce obviously has a huge entourage and never travels solo, but you get the point. She for sure could strut everywhere solo like the Queen she is.
Alas, I digress.
It was in this moment walking through the airport that I realized that while I am fiercely independent, own two businesses, and navigate most of my days solo and accomplish all the things, I rarely do the big stuff alone.
Do you eat a restaurant alone? Go to the movies? Explore a new area? Do you travel solo? Take a new fitness class on your own?
Do you feel compelled to do things with others? Or would rather hang at home instead of doing some of these things sans a plus one?
It started realizing that I’m so fiercely independent and yet often so dependent on others, even when I don’t realize I am.
My airport moment took me be surprise, and I realized it’s because my friend and I are simply used to traveling with our husbands, kiddos or girlfriends. I never even carry my own boarding pass.
You know why this is important though?
Why is it so important to do things on our own, particularly things outside our comfort zone or that you’d usually rely on someone else for?
You give yourself the space to make your own decisions.
You remind yourself that you’re more brave and fearless than you think.
You learn to enjoy your own company. Hopefully you learn to crave your own company.
You remind yourself that you are incredibly capable.
You learn to rely solely on your instincts.
You remind yourself of what you love to do, eat, see and explore.
You provide yourself the time necessary to reflect on what brings you joy and peace.
You better understand YOUR needs, wants and desires, instead of every person around you.
You realize you don’t know everything, and might fail… but you also remind yourself that you will figure out whatever comes your way. You always have.
Mind you, I’m not suggesting you need to travel for a week or a month solo in order to benefit from being more independent.
Heck, I proud I’m doing one hour hot yoga classes on my own, not asking a friend if they want to join me (and that I go when I want, and either chat with new people or come and go without speaking a word). It’s all my decision.
My solo travel the past year or two typically means I’m meeting up with a friend, going to a conference, traveling for work, or seeing a family member.
But it’s these small amounts of time from a few hours to two or three days that remind me that I can handle a little more today than I thought I could yesterday.
And this, this makes all the difference.