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Mountain Echo

Online newspaper of Altoona Area High School in Altoona, Pennsylvania
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The Student News Site of Altoona Area High School

Mountain Echo

The Student News Site of Altoona Area High School

Mountain Echo

Letters from my room: how to be content while being alone

Makenzie Closson

Essentially, an individual really only goes through life alone. 

Now, you can interpret that in many different ways. Of course you aren’t alone alone, but when it all boils down, the only mind and body that’s completely controllable is your own. 

Life will find unique ways to attempt to tell you that maybe it’s time to slow down. You could go from feeling surrounded by people to having to spend multiple weekends alone in your bedroom. However scary this all sounds, it all happens for a reason. Sometimes, the best company you can have is your own. 

So, the question is: How can you feel at peace with the feeling of loneliness? 

There are several instances of life-altering situations that can make you feel lonely. A bad break-up, a falling out with your best friend, growing apart from other people, or maybe just deciding that your social life isn’t where it should be. The end result to these is always some form of isolation⸺some moderate and some unbearable. 

When you’re a teenager and navigating through high school, it’s almost impossible to not pick up a few best friends along the way. Maybe even a significant other, or rather, a giant friend group. As your mind is changing and evolving, so are the minds of the people around you. Emotional consistency is unattainable at this stage of life. It’s inevitable that someone is going to burn a bridge with you. It’s also inevitable that you’ll burn a bridge with someone else. 

Being dependent on the people you choose to devote your time to isn’t a terrible thing. In fact, it’s expected. It’s normal to care about the people who have given you a reason to care about them; however, when a relationship is ripped away from you, it’s heartbreaking. You’re left with only yourself, someone you might’ve lost sight of during all this time of devoting every ounce of time and energy to other people. This is an ultimate test of seeing how truly content you can be with the very essence of yourself.

To begin, remind yourself that this period of solitude will not last forever. Despite the extremity of the situation feeling like it could be world-ending, life is a series of waves. Nothing ever completely ends⸺some days the water might just be rougher. Life has its practiced ways to show a person exactly what they need. Imagine it like an “Ispy” video game. There are hints available, but it’s ultimately up to you on how you’re utilizing them. 

When life is slowly ripping people away from you, there is something bigger attempting to tell you that it’s time to focus on yourself. It’s almost a preparation for the next batch of people waiting to enter your life. Take this time of loneliness as a gift. What are you left with? Yourself. That is something that won’t ever change, so it’s time to make your own head a nice place to reside in. 

One of the benefits of being alone is the ability to do whatever you want without having to answer to anyone else about it. When you’re metaphorically “tied down” in a romantic relationship, it’s an unspoken rule that your significant other should have access to your whereabouts. There are no road trips, long shopping days, spontaneous sleepovers, or parties to attend anymore without someone else knowing about it. With that, too, comes the opinions you’ll get on where you choose to go, which can cause a lot of mentally draining arguments. This goes for friendships too. If you’re going through a time away from friends you’re used to seeing almost everyday, it’s normal to feel lost. It’s normal to miss their company, especially since you’ll experience the world around you suddenly reminding you of them. Wanting to reach out but knowing you can’t at the moment is a defeating feeling, but it’s nothing you can’t get through.

Now, with this comes a lot of sacrifice. There are so many things to discover, and it’s nearly impossible to discover exactly what you need to do when you aren’t alone. When you aren’t obligated to answer to anyone but your family, the opportunities become endless. This is a time to really buckle down and sit with yourself. What do you like? What do you dislike? What do you pride yourself on doing well? What do you think you could do better? 

 This is a great time to start doing things for yourself. Think of all the things you would do for the people who you care about. Maybe that particular person is someone you are being forced to spend time apart from. If you spend so much time living for others that void you’re left with during isolation can be filled, simply, by doing thoughtful tasks for yourself—even if they’re little. Maybe it’s as simple as completing an assignment early so your future self can be grateful that it’s done and they can relax, or preparing a bubble bath to provide a sense of luxury for yourself. 

I think oftentimes we forget about ourselves and the needs that we might have. The only way you can truly move forward with self-acceptance and self-growth is to begin to find your own rhythm within what you need, and taking that initiative to get it for yourself. I like to picture myself as two metaphorical people: my physical self and my mental self. When you think of those things as two separate entities, you’ll find that you can hyperfocus on what needs more attention. On days where your physical appearance feels off, or you aren’t satisfied with who’s looking back at you in the mirror, those are the days to tap into what your mind needs to benefit it’s outerself. Remember: Your body and your mind need to get along. 

Giving gratitude to yourself is an effective way to find appreciation for the body you’re residing in. Find time to go out and do enjoyable things in your own company. Take yourself out for a meal, buy yourself a new article of clothing, or even take extra time to clean your room. This is also a great time to spend time off of social media. I notice that “rotting” alone in the dark scrolling on a phone can create a sense of depressing loneliness, which should not be the case. Like I said before, this period of time is a gift. 

The universe will not keep you alone forever. People come and go as quickly as the seasons change. Always know that it’s for the better. Appreciate the people who do provide you stability, like your family or a coach you’ve been training with for years. Instead of feeling hopeless during times like these, find the bittersweetness within it all. The time will come when everything you’ve been waiting for will become a reality. And once your life is refilled with new people, or possibly old acquaintances you’ve rekindled with, you’re now prepared to take back a heavy social life while gaining a lot of new information about yourself and how to take care of the mind and body. You’ll find that the moments you do find yourself alone while being surrounded by people are periods of grace, and the perfect opportunities to spend time with the essence of you—the person you’ve learned to nourish and appreciate.  

If you don’t know where to start, here are some tasks you can practice to show yourself love and admiration. 

  • Start a journal 
  • Read a new book
  • Listen to a new podcast
  • Rearrange or redecorate an area of your room you don’t like
  • Create a new playlist
  • Do all the things you say you never have time to do
  • Go on a drive. Put down the windows and blast the music
  • Spend an extra five minutes in bed
  • Forgive yourself 
  • Buy yourself flowers 
  • Watch a movie on your watchlist 
  • Turn off your phone for an hour, the afternoon, or the entire day
  • Wear something in your closet you haven’t worn in years
  • Become clear on your values 
  • Create something new
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About the Contributor
Makenzie Closson, Associate Editor
My name is Makenzie Closson. I am a second year member of the Mountain Echo and Horseshoe yearbook staffs. Last year, I became a PSPA finalist and even won first in the state for yearbook copy writing. Besides just being involved in the publications, I'm a competitive dancer. I also enjoy playing my guitar, creating art and film making. After high school, I plan to attend a film school to become a director.

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    lindaJan 8, 2024 at 1:20 pm