By Linda Hague
When I was in my early thirties, I was far away from my family and friends in New York because I moved to Canada. It was the mid-1970s, and everyone I encountered seemed to be "hustling." A world I didn't know much about and didn't feel completely comfortable with.
I was all alone. So, I made the decision to "date" myself, and as odd as that sounds, it really wasn't.
I decided to date myself because no one else was interested in doing any of the things I wanted to do, such as seeing a new exhibit at an art gallery, going to a ballet, listening to live classical music, or watching foreign films without subtitles. The freedom and sense of independence I got from this was immeasurable.
No longer did I have to really on friends being available, not that I had many. I wanted to grab life by the lapels and 'experience' it my way. Even if it meant attending events alone.
Initially the awkwardness lingered, but after a few attempts my self-confidence grew. I learnt to be at ease by myself and to give my emerging self all the encouragement I could.
It wasn't easy taking the first steps along this route. I once treated myself to a delicious supper at TGIF before seeing the Early Bird special at a movie. Prior to the eatery becoming overcrowded. I sat alone at a table and was accosted by waiters, bartenders, elderly couples, and young males my age throughout the meal.
The older couple insisted that I join them for dinner because no decent young woman should dine alone. Thank you, but no, I said. Other tables with customers were given to me by waiters. I'm perfectly fine. Is it possible for me to get my entree right now? Because I wanted to sit alone with a book and sip my dessert and coffee, the young men ultimately put an end to that part of the evening by questioning my sexuality—you queer!
I finally got ready to go to the movie. It's perfectly acceptable to watch a film alone in the dark. Many males were in there by themselves in the early evenings back then. Why should it be any different foe me?
I dated myself for approximately a year and a half. As a result, I gained confidence in my own likes and interests. Other people got more interested in me as a result of what I was doing, but not because I told them what I was doing.
I read books and wrote in my journal while taking me, myself, and I out. I kept track of my progress. I mean growth in the sense that I was thrown into the adult world of responsibility at a young age and hadn't learned the ropes well enough to handle life successfully.
My leap into maturity included some self-parenting and self awareness.
It's okay to live life the way in which you see fit. If you want to watch a movie alone - then do so. I you want to try a new restaurant but have nobody free to go with - go by yourself. Life is for living and doing. Date yourself and be free.