Dating unbalances me.
Every time I start seeing someone, it feels like my whole life gets thrown off. I stay up too late. I ruin my evening routine in favor of lying in bed and texting until the early hours of the morning. I stop listening to my inner self because I’m too enamored with this thing outside of myself.
My emotions get wacky. I’m tired. I’m messy. I’m lost.
Then, it ends.
And I realize I’m not sure which way is up anymore.
Today, I packed a lunch and went to my favorite park in downtown Denver, bringing nothing but a book, a notebook, and a pencil. And a sandwich.
I found a spot nestled between some rocks along the river and had my lunch. No TV to watch, no podcasts to listen to, no one to talk to.
I read and wrote and stuck my toes into the river to stay cool. As I wrote I watched folks on inner tubes slide down the gentle rapids. A little kid got stuck on the shore next to me and his mom hollered, “Can you give him a shove?”
With a push I sent him careening back down the river, laughing.
People sunbathed across the river from me. Some sipped Starbucks teas and chatted with friends. Others exercised (yes, with dumbells and the whole thing) or sat, like me, lost in a book or podcast or just their own thoughts.
I felt alone, but not lonely.
For the first time in a long time, I realized how good the quiet felt.
No obligations. No one to entertain or vie for. No one to impress.
Just me, chasing whatever it was that brought me joy.
How often did I truly sit around and do nothing?
How often did I just exist with myself — not checking my email, not stressing about work, not looking for my next date?
I can honestly say I haven’t felt that centered in a long time. Somehow the act of existing alone and realizing that I was okay to just be alone boosted my self-confidence and brought me back in alignment with myself.
I felt good. I felt like me again.
It was like a reset.
When you’re always doing something, it’s hard to know yourself. It’s hard to know what brings you joy and what you actually want to be doing because you’re always too busy actually doing.
But silence? Radical do-nothingness?
Your brain finally gets a break. In that silence, you can really hear yourself and decide what would make your silent, nothing-filled day better, instead of trying to remove whatever you think might be making a busy day worse.
You find out that you can exist with just your own power. You don’t need to constantly go-go-go to be entertained or worthy.
Just existing, being there, showing up — that’s enough.
So I’m blocking out more time to be alone. Not time to do hobbies or be busy or hone a skill — but time to sit somewhere and relax. Time for silence. Time for… well, nothing.
In a world that constantly demands us, being alone and doing nothing are powerful acts of defiance.
And if we want to be ourselves, then going against the grain seems like a good place to start.