02 03 The Rhineheart Roost: Alone. 04 05 15 16 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 31 32 33

Alone.

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Last night was a rough one.

I didn't get enough sleep, I had to wake up early, and I was generally not looking forward to the day ahead. It was like a Monday all over again. As I shuffled through the door to get to my first class, however, I noticed something different.
 It seemed.... Quieter than normal. Mornings are usually relatively quiet, but this was different. Perhaps the cloud cover had done something to the atmospheric pressure, making it some sort of blanket over the town, but everything had a softer, muted quality to it.

Hearing and feeling the silence was extremely calming, and I found myself wishing I could just skip out on all of my classes, call in sick to work, and go exploring. But, being a good person, I did as I should and went to all my classes and finished work.

As soon as I got out of my last class, however, I knew I couldn't wait anymore. I hopped on my bike and away I went, to see what I could find. I rode past the graveyard and the park, in my quest to be closer to Mt. Graham, and in doing so found an abandoned ballpark.

 Why I'd never noticed this before, I wasn't sure. But I pulled over and walked around it a bit. Even though it was run down and rusty, it had a certain charm to it. 



I took some pictures and continued meandering around, until I found some flowers growing on the side of the road. One thing led to another and before I knew it, I had a headband full of bright yellow flowers. I felt a bit like Anne of Green Gables when she decided to put wildflowers in her hat. It might look crazy to others, but to me it felt splendid.


I continued along, riding my bike in hopes of being able to get a good, clear view of Mt. Graham. I ended up further than I planned, but I found some beautiful, beautiful scenery. Today was a perfect day to be alone.

As Dr. Seuss said, "alone is something you'll be quite a lot," and I have found this to be true, especially since moving out. But there is a fundamental difference between being alone and being lonely. More often than not, I'm lonely. But you know what? I think I figured out why.
I spend so much time alone in my little apartment, plinking around on my laptop, that I have effectively closed myself off from the rest of the world. No matter how much time I spend on social media, it doesn't change the fact that I am no longer a very social person, and frankly, that scares me. Where did the zeal I had for life go? Why do I care more about the number of "likes" I get than the people I like? It's a slippery slope leading directly to a black hole, and I am very afraid I am being sucked in.

Having realized this, I've decided I need to spend more time outside, particularly while the weather here is so lovely. Today was the beginning of that, and oh, how therapeutic it was! Not having to talk to anyone else, not needing to smile constantly, and not having to publicly update everyone on my whereabouts was so nice. I realized that maybe instead of focusing on having more friends, I need to focus on being my own friend. I loved being able to just think to myself in the wide open spaces. I loved not speaking a word out loud. I loved absorbing the scenery, and finding places I would like to visit again.

Being alone is something I think everyone should do more often. I was able to take my time, stop and smell the roses, and go as far away as I wanted without having to worry about tiring anybody else out. I went at my own pace, and my goodness was it wonderful. Do I want to share that with somebody? Of course I do! Maybe sometime. But taking it all in on my own time was important. I really got to enjoy the simple beauty of nature; something I forget to do all too easily.

Guys, be alone every so often. Take an absurdly long bike ride to clear your thoughts and find out who you are. Get to know yourself. It doesn't matter if you're in a small town like Thatcher, or a big city like Mesa. Find a bike path and just GO. Even in Mesa I found some wonderful places to explore, and so can you. The world is so beautiful. There is so much to see! So step away from the laptop. Take some pictures of the places around you. Immerse yourself in the outdoors, even if you live in a concrete jungle. You can do it.

And you don't have to tweet about it. Trust me. (the irony of me writing this and promoting it on my social media outlets is not lost on me, fyi. Just a friendly reminder to tune out every once in a while. :^) )


Adventure is out there!

~Haeley

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