Relationships

An Ode to Alone Time

An Ode to Alone Time

As an introvert, when I moved to New York City, I had the numbers stacked against me — 8,550,404:1. Would I ever be able to find alone time?

Back in Missouri, when I needed to recharge, I’d lounge under a shady tree, soothed by the hum of neighborhood lawn mowers and the creaks of my porch swing in the breeze. Or if I had an important decision to make, I would hop in my car and coast along empty country roads until I had clarity. It felt a little like I was setting myself up when I packed my bags for the place of fast-walking, fast-talking people, bustling through crowded streets and overflowing subways.

The term “introvert” describes those who lose energy from interacting with others, even if they enjoy the company. I feel my best and most energetic when I have time alone to reflect on my surroundings, ideas and memories. Since I now live in a small apartment with two roommates, I’ve realized I need to find my solo time outside. A month after my move, New York Magazine published a guide for this exact situation, stating: “Being alone when surrounded by so many others holds a different appeal from being alone in a cabin in the woods. It’s less about being a hermit and more about being a chameleon.” With this as my handbook and 11 months of practice, I have finally discovered what works.

Walking in Manhattan
There are two ways to walk in New York. You can navigate the city with earphones and your eyes averted, traveling from point A to point B with the least amount of interruption. But there is a more romantic course — where having no destination is key. If I have a free Sunday afternoon, I’ll take the subway to the historic neighborhoods I grew up reading about. Lately, it’s been the West Village, where the ivy clings to hundred-year-old brownstones and the cobblestone streets curve like European alleyways. I’m free to observe and roam these neighborhoods exactly how I please. I can welcome city life — and grab a coffee from a corner bakery — or retreat to a quiet garden.

Going to the movies
When you go to a movie alone, you can choose whichever one you like, sit wherever your heart desires and have the liberating option to walk out halfway through. (The last film I saw was Maggie’s Plan.) There is also something especially magical about seeing a movie in a buzzing, independent New York theater. A deliriously eager and chatty crowd transforms into a group of attentive individuals the second the previews begin. For as long as the projector flickers, everyone is solo, relishing their heightened emotions.

Sitting in the park
People watching has always been a favorite activity for me. But in New York it’s especially delicious. Every time I sit at the fountain in Washington Square Park or secure a bench on the Brooklyn Promenade to read, I end up invested in the sagas unfolding around me instead. I’ll find myself on the same page for ten minutes, unable to shift my attention back. Wait! What was Uncle Ron doing on the roof in the first place? I try to telepathically ask the two middle-aged women chatting behind me. These acts of friendly eavesdropping beat Netflix any day.

Playing tourist
This is the trickiest of my routines. If you want to avoid the stop-and-go tourist parades that usually surround these places, time it right. The Brooklyn Bridge is stunning after dark. The distant lights of Manhattan flicker like fireflies, and the river breeze flows over the boardwalk. Then there’s the Metropolitan Museum of Art. It has a peaceful, slow rhythm in the mornings, and I’ve been able to gaze at Helen Levitt photographs and Balthus paintings without distraction. New York Magazine also notes, “A lot of people don’t know this, but the Empire State Building is open until 2 a.m. The last elevator leaves at 1:15. If you go up then, it’s empty, it’s beautiful, and the city sounds like the ocean.” Seeing these grand places, without the Disneyland hubbub, reminds you of the wild promise of New York, why you fell in love with it in the first place.

Chatting with strangers
My solitary habits have actually led to a number of conversations with strangers. The last time I was at the movie theater, I sat next to another solo-goer. After she tapped her box Junior Mints on my armchair, we started talking. We laughed about how we were both there because of our crush on Ethan Hawke. This spring, while walking in Brooklyn Heights with my camera hanging around my neck, a old man wobbled over with a walking stick. He pointed his cane toward a brick street by the water — his favorite place in Brooklyn to photograph. Once, on a delayed C train, the girl next to me nudged my shoulder and pointed to our feet with a smirk. We were wearing the same Everlane loafers. Through the next nine stops, we discussed everything from the final episode of The Sopranos to the best way to reheat pizza (a skillet, we agreed). It was a glorious 10-minute friendship.

At the end of the day, I love nothing more than laughing with old friends, or crashing a party of my mom’s with her five sisters. But, it’s nice to know, whenever they are busy, I can always hang out with myself.

P.S. Drinking alone and traveling alone.

(Photo by Stella Blackmon.)

  1. such a great read. thanks for sharing so beautifully, stella!

  2. Rachel K says...

    I love this post! I’m a fellow introvert and I LOVE living in the city (Boston). I get so much energy from “being a chameleon” and truly treasure unexpected interactions with strangers.

  3. I love the chatting with strangers stories! Beautiful. :)

  4. I love the way you write, and I loved this post so much I included a link in my latest! :)

  5. Kadija says...

    Thank you for this, Stella! I live in a small city (Charleston, WV to be exact), and while I’m itching to run off to a big city with my little one my circumstances have me choosing to stay. These are some helpful things to do in my alone time in my own city…maybe it’ll bring some of the magic back for the time being!

  6. I really enjoyed this. I’m passionate about my alone time and finding it seems to be getting harder and harder the more life changes. I love going to see a film by myself, or taking myself for a coffee :)

    Alice | Whiskey Jars Blog

  7. Lisa says...

    Yep. Loved the Sopranos and Six Feet Under. 2 great shows :) Peter Krause played the lead in Six Feet Under and also Parenthood. The very last episode of Parenthood had a similar ending to Six Feet Under.

    • ev says...

      yes, he’s so versatile! both of the shows felt similar to me, as well.

  8. Janet Hale says...

    Wonderful post, I could feel as I were right along with you.
    I have never been to New York City before but thanks to you I have some option to explore when I do finally make it there.

  9. These are such easy tips on how to find a bit of solitude even when surrounded by people….I’m moving into a college dorm soon myself and will definitely be heeding some of these suggestions!

    xx

    bombshell-to-be.blogspot.com

  10. Sandra says...

    I loved this post! I lived in Chicago for over 20 years and it was such a great city for being alone in a crowd. I didn’t know anyone when I moved there, and after a while I’d start to see the same strangers over and over and they started to become familiar faces even though I never actually spoke to any of them. I am an introvert who loves being around people, but on my terms (so basically a cat). Parenting as an introvert is REALLY hard, but my son is the best thing that ever happened to me so I wouldn’t want it any other way. I think most introverted parents stay up too late. I can’t imagine being with kids all day, cleaning up the kitchen, then reading for 1/2 hour and going straight to bed. I need wayyyy more time to decompress.

  11. Marty Close says...

    Absolutely loved reading about your life in New York ……..but remember that you are missed by many in Springfield….

  12. I love, love, love alone time. That’s why being in sales was perfect for me. You’d think it’s a occupation for an extrovert. Actually you spend most of the time alone traveling from one client to the next, free to be alone with the sunshine, radio, books on tape, whatever your mind can conjure. You only have to put up with people a little of the time. No boss hanging over your shoulder or water cooler gossip to contend with.

  13. Ev says...

    Really enjoyed this read. Your writing style is easy to relate to……what did you both think of the Soprano’s finale?

    Speaking of final episodes….the finale of ‘Six Feet Under’ is one to watch as well. Even if you haven’t seen the whole series. That last season is kind of a mini movie.

  14. Amy says...

    Stella, I live in Cobble Hill. I saw Ethan H. walking on Clinton Street nearly every morning during the school year. I’m not suggesting you become a stalker of course… just an observation ;)

    • Stella Blackmon says...

      Hahahaha! That comment is amazing! You might see me wandering around there soon ;)

    • Amy says...

      One time I actually saw him having his own alone time moment in a coffee shop. He sat down right next to me and I freaked out, silently. I love NY!

    • Stella Blackmon says...

      Ahhhh, so funny, Amy! You made my day!

  15. Isabelle says...

    This was so good to read. I just moved to Toronto and I’m living by myself for a few weeks while my husband and daughter are together on the East Coast. I’m not used to being alone, and it’s strange and good. Especially since I’m used to taking care of a 4-year-old! Thanks Stella.

    • Kadija says...

      Isabelle,

      I’m thinking of heading to Toronto in a couple of years. How are you liking it? It seems like such a fun city :)

  16. Callie says...

    Love this post! I grew up in a small town where everybody knows your name (or who your parents are!) so I moved to a big city for college for the joy of anonymity. There’s a feeling of so much potential in being unknown. You can be who or how you want, and you can pretty much go unnoticed when you want to. 12 years later however, I am missing the vast openness of the midwest, the possibility of being physically alone in a place, and also the friendliness of familiar faces. A tug of war in my heart! But I’m not done with cities yet, still trying out new ones. :) Thank you Stella!

  17. kathy says...

    i love this. i am an introvert and lived in nyc for a while. as you described, i loved the way it allowed me to be alone while being surrounded with people. i actually felt a sense of community. moving away from nyc to sf bay area where i’m in my car a lot more, it strangely felt more lonely. this takes me back to my time in nyc. love it and miss it.

  18. Stella, this was lovely to read. I especially appreciate how you include the social aspects of being an introvert – you paint a really dynamic picture of being introverted, rather than just focusing on time spent completely alone. Contrary to popular belief, one CAN be social, enjoy social interaction, and still be an introvert!

    I am curious to know your Meyers-Briggs type, if you know what it is and don’t mind sharing. I thought I was ENFJ but recently accepted my own introvertedness and am much more confident in my newfound INFJ type. It’s also known as the “introverted extrovert” type, and I’m wondering if you are perhaps this type as well.

  19. Kate says...

    I am an extrovert, living in a city where making eye contact is a big no! In addition, people’s schedules here are such a whirlwind…long hours and differing boroughs make scheduling time with friends especially difficult. NYC has really helped me learn how to be alone and be ok with it. I spend hours exploring neighborhoods, attending author events and visiting specialty paper stores. I love how you mentioned the random convos with other New Yorkers. I think we are all looking for that common thread… something as small as the same accessory can get us going for an entire train ride! For me, bringing my dog around the city sparks up endless conversations which I love! NYC is FULL of characters and just when you think you’ve heard or seen it all, someone delightfully surprises you!!

    • Stella Blackmon says...

      So true, Kate! xx

  20. Sam says...

    Just wanted to say this was a beautiful piece of writing! It had me a little misty by the end and I’m not even sure why. It can be so easy to get overwhelmed by this place, but this was a sweet reminder that the city is also immensely peaceful and beautiful. Thanks for that :)

  21. Jen says...

    Love this. <3

  22. Oh, how I cherish my alone time. Being a mommy of very loving and energetic twins is the most amazing blessing ever, however it also means I rarely have a quiet moment to myself (they even bombard me in the loo). I find taking myself and a few magazines out to lunch before hitting the grocery store is the perfect alone time for me. Since my girls were babies I always had someone stay with them at home while I grocery shopped. Then I began to add a little lunch to this errand. Now I do this when they’re at school.

    XOXO, Amy @ Jeans and a Tea
    http://www.jeansandatea.com

  23. Jen G says...

    I love this post. Before I was married and had a child, I lived alone in a tiny studio in Chelsea, and I often did all of these things around the city. Most of my girlfriends couldn’t handle a lot of alone time, but I loved it. I also enjoyed early Saturday mornings wandering the Union Square Greenmarket, when the shoppers are mostly chefs, sitting at the bar of a favorite restaurant and indulging in a glass of wine and a nice dinner, or treating myself to a Broadway show. I was also a big fan of solo travel abroad. I could be alone with my thoughts, or chat up some friendly stranger when I felt like a little company. I can be social as well, but I guess deep down, I’m an introvert.

    Now that I’m married, with my own toddler, plus a part-time stepchild, me time is a rare treat, but I reading this makes me miss my lone adventures!

  24. My alone time is something I deeply value. It is so important to me. Even in large groups, if I feel overwhelmed or if I feel like I’ve just been around people for too long, I’ll pull myself away to regroup. It’s truly beneficial for everyone involved, because then I am at my best.

    XO Helen @ http://www.KaleidoscopeSpinning.com

  25. As a parent of a 6 year old I’ve learned to treasure even 10 minutes to myself. I’m a total introvert, and it’s nice to hear of others who share in enjoying solitary time. One of my favorite things to do solo is check out a new neighborhood coffee shop and people watch/eavesdrop. Being in Los Angeles, there’s a wide range of “personas” from hipsters to beach bums to the design crowd.

  26. Ruby says...

    Such a lovely piece of writing. Inspiring and heart warming. Thank you x

  27. While I am an extrovert through and through (I just love people!) I loved reading this post. To me, It wasn’t so much about how to get some alone time, it was about the intricate beauties of life that can be found in unexpected places. A smile is planted on my face because of it. Thank you, Stella.

  28. I love cities alone – beautifully written, Stella!

  29. You make New York sound so dreamy. Thanks for sharing this post. I never take time just to be by myself unless I’m running or at the gym. I want to make a bigger effort to enjoy that reflective alone time.

    http://www.whatnatalieknows.co.uk

  30. I love this! My favorite alone time activity is shopping. Earlier this year I was on bed rest for 9 weeks while pregnant with twins. After we brought the twins home, I asked my visiting mother-in-law to help my husband with them for a little while because I desperately needed to get out of the house and be by myself. I wandered around Target for an hour and it was glorious. I didn’t need anything and I’m pretty sure I didn’t buy anything, but I just love walking around and looking at the pretty things. It’s often when I get my best ideas.

  31. I’m a pretty chatty person so I think it surprises people that I need my alone time from time to time – people can be so exhausting sometimes. I think it’s important for us all to have some alone time to reflect on things (as long as it doesn’t become a long-term habit).

    Your post sounds idyllic, I’d love to visit NY one day!
    – Lubna | The Digital Review

  32. Tahlia says...

    Anytime I read something that I admire, I automatically envision it in first person as if I were experiencing it myself. This happened as soon as I started reading your post.

    What a wonderful read. X

  33. Luna says...

    This post is great. I am from the Netherlands and once got a chance to spend two weeks alone in NY. I did almost all of these things. NY is the best! It let’s you be alone together with others. I would go alone there anytime! And you write beautifully, Stella!

    PS I agree on Madie’s comment: it would be interesting to learn more about how introverts handle parenthood. I’ve been struggling with this, too.

  34. I think going to the movies alone or sitting by yourself in a cafe sipping a nice cup of coffee while peoplewatching are two of the greatest pleasures in life!
    xx,
    E.
    http://www.theslowpace.com

  35. Balsam says...

    wow I love your writing! so simple and fluid, like listening to a friend calmly chat

  36. I absolutely loved reading your post, I have infinite passion for New York and it’s my next destination. I felt like I was right there with you when reading this. I too enjoy alone time, in fact I am having it right now but I was beginning to feel lonely! Your post reminded me how wonderful an opportunity it really is. Thankyou for sharing xxxxx

  37. I have plans of hitting up New York next year (and possibly stay for a while) and one of my concerns as an introvert really is just the sheer amount of people there (which, ironically, is also part of the attraction) and the fact that it’s always buzzing with activities. Good to know that there are ways to still find alone time in such a busy place. What an encouragement.

  38. Andrew Arnold says...

    Great read, Stella! Lots to think about here. We are increasingly isolated by our own traps (electronic devices, self-absorption) that striking up conversations with complete strangers is so foreign to us, and has become a lost art. Good for you for understanding this and keeping the real world real! There is a bigger world out there beyond Facebook and headphones.

  39. Kelly Knauer says...

    mighty good, stella …. I am also a lover of the west village … and of gazing at strangers … and of playing tourist on the off hours ….. your style is lovely and graceful, dang you.

  40. Kali says...

    How idyllic. I fancy me another trip to New York. Perhaps alone this time … anyway, I loved everything about this post. Thank you!

  41. Great tips! Being able to enjoy your own company is key to having a full life. It’s taken me until my late 20s to get to this point, but I finally love going out to eat alone. As long as it’s not a restaurant that’s too busy, there’s nothing like enjoying your meal in peace without having to keep up a conversation the whole time. It’s great to catch up with friends over a meal, but as an introvert, I’ve now allowed myself to appreciate my alone time and to really relish in the experience of dining!

    Keshia
    http://www.queenlifeblog.com

  42. Esther says...

    such a well written post, stella! your writing style is a pleasure to read and keenly observational (in true introvert style). i especially liked the talking to strangers part. as an introvert myself, this is something i’ve been trying to cultivate more in my life these days. it’s crazy how many ‘strangers’ we come in contact with on a daily basis living, working, and commuting in nyc so why not engage?

  43. Margy says...

    Oh my god. This has struck a cord with me – so much! I am currently a student who spends every other semester on internships. Last year, I spent about 8 months in the wonderful NYC. And I am textbook introvert. During that time I lived in East Village in a tiny apartment with 5 other roommates. When I went back for the next four months, I shared an EVEN SMALLER apartment with 6 other roommates. Granted these people were my friends, but I needed my own time. And for some reason, Manhattan/Brooklyn has provided me more alone/thinking/creative/wondorous moments than any quiet nook or tree covered grass patch ever has. Walking the streets, spending Sundays in West Village, calling my mom and talking for an hour or two before I hung up and people watched with a coffee. Taking walks at night around Ave A in East Village, gazing into lighted apartments and wondering what their lives were like. Exploring museums and shops. Never talking with someone. Sitting in a cafe, journaling. Going to the Strand. Just being myself while everyone else was being themselves – not worrying at all about you! For me, this was the best type of escape as an introvert. I was able to observe and be alone without judgement. Something that is harder to do in other places in America. New York is special. And it is extremely special for an introvert. Hopefully, I get to go back for another internship. Fingers crossed! Love this post!

    • Stella Blackmon says...

      Ahh, so true to all of this! New York does feel special for that reason. Best of luck with everything! xoxoxo

  44. Averil says...

    Can we take a moment to appreciate how beautifully written was this piece was!? “The distant lights of Manhattan flicker like fireflies, and the river breeze flows over the boardwalk.” UGH… I read this three times just to enjoy the writing.
    Thanks so much! Not from New York – I live in Queenstown, New Zealand, so solitude is not hard to find. But, this made me feel for the briefest moment like I was with you in NY.

  45. CathyS says...

    Thank you! Your post was lovely! I am a many-time visitor to NYC…my very favorite city in the world! Living there is on my bucket list. Missouri is my home and living on the Plaza in KC is about as good as it gets….

  46. Elizabeth says...

    I just moved away from NYC 6 months ago and didn’t realize how much I miss it until reading this. You’ve put words to some of my favorite parts of my time living there and I didn’t even realize it until reading about your experience as well! Such a sweet piece, thank you so much for sharing.

  47. Ismelda says...

    Lovely post! I lived in NYC for a year when I was pursuing my MFA, I’m also an introvert, and there was where I learned how to go to the movies alone and fell in love with going to central park and walk daily for an hour (also alone). I’m back home now but boy do I miss those days. <3

  48. I agree! Having some me time is the best. I told my friends that I don’t mind going to the theaters by myself and they all looked at me like I’m crazy! I mean it’s not like your going to talk to anyone. I find it relaxing and you get all the snack to yourself ahahah.

    http://www.thebeautydojo.com

  49. Alex says...

    I used to love those days where I had no plans and could meander through the city and the boroughs – you can end up in surprising and wonderful places! It’s been a while (i have a 9 month old), but this post totally inspired me! Next weekend i’m ditching the baby with her dad and heading out on a solo adventure for at least a few hours. Thanks Stella!

  50. Love my time alone. I resent the pressure I feel, though, that I should spend more time with people doing things. I don’t know if this is a personal thing or if others share this. I also feel that my interest in being alone prevents me from meeting new people and forming new relationships. I don’t really mind it – just the “pressure” of it, if that makes sense.

    • Julie says...

      Well said! I know exactly what you mean. It’s a constant state of defending the happiness of being alone to people who don’t understand it. :)

  51. Lauren says...

    this is so helpful… I’m moving to NYC in three weeks, and I can’t wait!

  52. What is this mythical creature known as alone time of which you speak?

  53. i felt the same way when I moved to NYC from Texas! I found walking was always my best head-clearer – still is! Although now that I live in LA everyone thinks i’m crazy for my pedestrian ways

  54. My husband and kids left for vacation today. I will join them next week so I have a whole week of alone time. Every day is already packed with work and social events. I am loving it so far.

  55. Good for you–chatting with strangers, taking walks and playing tourists. Attagirl!!!
    Isn’t that Harriet the Spy’s house????

  56. jessica says...

    Beautifully written post! I used to live in nyc and miss it for exactly this reason — it is the best city to have incredible solo experiences! The anonymity of the large city to me is what I miss most. It gives that sort of magical feeling like having an invisibility cloak to go on random adventures, enjoy friendly eavesdropping /people watching, getting lost in crowds, politely ignoring the people around you and spending hours wandering the streets with all their little details that you miss on your daily commute. I live in a urban area in socal now, which I love for other reasons, but with car culture and smaller centers to get lost in – your post makes me long for my weekly wanderings in the village with a coffee and solo lunches with good people watching views. Must plan a trip back soon xo

  57. Chooseloveoverhate says...

    I found this blog because I simply wanted to learn about life in the east coast from someone of similar age. Being an introvert myself, and after sadly experiencing being misunderstood even bullied for this disposition, I’ve learned that it is nothing to be ashamed of. Love more, hate less, please.

  58. Sitting in a park, amongst trees is my favourite alone time. If there is a song bird nearby, even better!

    Shruthi
    http://nyambura.co

  59. CC says...

    NYC is such a great place to be alone. I spent all of July 4th weekend by myself: I went to a play, a movie, a museum, sat by the reflecting pool at Lincoln Center, got a manicure and started reading a perfect book for loners: The Lonely City: Adventures in the Art of Being Alone by Olivia Laing.

    • Stella Blackmon says...

      That sounds wonderful, CC. Love that!

      Stella xx

    • KatieSue says...

      What a great sounding book. I just instantly reserved it at the library after reading your comment! Thank you!

  60. This is great! I’m going to Copenhagen tomorrow, alone, and I’m anxious about it a bit because sometimes it feels harder to be alone abroad.

    In general, I’m 100% great at being alone and totally prefer being alone (recharging has to be done alone, right? How else?!) and really struggle with “how do I become un-alone, how do I make friends and join and participate, when all you know how to do or to be comfortable doing, is to be the chameleon and solitary?

    I will read your tips NY Magazine, so muchas gracias.

    • Maria says...

      Hannah, I hope you enjoy your stay in Copenhagen. I live here, and it’s definitely a city where you can savor solitude. Enjoy our parks – the King’s Garden and Frederiksberg Garden are lovely. There are many cafés and residential areas for people watching, and there are so many nice places to take walks. Try the new Harbour bridge (Inderhavnsbro) for pedestrians and cyclists, and walk through Christianshavn (my hood :)) and over to upcoming Islands Brygge to experience the diversity of the neighborhoods. Take the train to the Louisiana museum near the sea in Humlebæk, there is a meditative view over the ocean and the outdoors are as beautiful as the indoors.

  61. Monica says...

    I just moved to NY this week from Missouri, and am an introvert as well. I look forward to using a few of these tips to escape from the busy crowded city! Thank you! :)

  62. Betsy says...

    This is such a great post! I am an introvert, yet I was my happiest when I lived in Chicago. My husband just couldn’t understand it. I tried to explain to him that while I liked being alone, I often felt lonely because he traveled so much. Being able to walk around the neighborhood and be surrounded by people made me feel less alone. I got a kick out of the energy of the city but loved being able to retreat to my quiet little apartment when I needed.

    • I totally agree! I used to live in Chicago and it felt so vibrant! It’s a hard city, but not overwhelming as NY, and fresh, and rich…I totally get it! I cant quite figure out why Boston has felt different for me, less enriching than Chicago (could be I’m not in my 20’s any longer).

  63. iris says...

    I like your writing, Stella Blackmon. You are a good addition to this blog!
    x iris

  64. jean says...

    Love the tip about going to the Metropolitan Museum in the morning, and the Empire State building late at night would be magical!

  65. molly says...

    Loved this post! I love your writing style Stella.

  66. Pim says...

    Love love love this post! Thank you!

    • Stella Blackmon says...

      Thank you so much, Pim!!

      Stella xoxox

  67. Bri says...

    I can relate to wanting some time alone. I’m moving to New York next month, so this post felt especially personal. Thank you!

  68. Natalie Brennan says...

    Love this post! I feel like Stella and I would be friends. ;-) Thank you Stella!

  69. I love this! I certainly need a balance of social time with alone time and these are such fun ideas! I know I need to do a better job of incorporating them in my daily life.

  70. Molly says...

    NYC is really the perfect place for introverts. Lots of action, and no need for interaction. I miss it!

  71. I have never been one to love being alone. I grew up in a family of seven and had to be where the action was. I was never like my one sister who could spend hours reading or writing. It’s not that I was ever really the center of attention, I just really enjoy the company.

    One of the first things that my husband and I noticed about each other was how much we loved to spend time together. It pained us to say goodbye at the end of each day and couldn’t wait to be with each other again. 6 years of marriage later this is still the case. But now he is in his medical residency and his time away from the hospital and with family is sparse. Going through medical school with him was so tough, but it finally taught me how to be at peace with being by myself. It’s a different sort of joy to spend a day by yourself, and I still would much rather share a good day with someone I love, but it’s definitely been a growing experience.

  72. Tiffany says...

    A skillet? Do tell!

  73. Mirella says...

    Loved this! I so relate.

  74. As a fellow introvert, I found this post extremely relatable. I’ve always loved living in big cities, because I could be alone without being completely alone. Thanks for the great tips, and now I want to book a ticket to NYC just to wander!

  75. NYC is actually a great place to be an introvert! Glad you have found what works for you. Growing up as an urban girl here, the vibrant city has always kept me from feeling lonely, while I traverse West Village streets or bike through Brooklyn alleyways alone. It’s such a rich way to achieve alone-time. When I moved away from NYC for a few years, I always missed that sense of companionship the city provides.

  76. Lindsay says...

    I love this so much! I NEED alone time to function and keep my life balanced. I used to live across the street from a movie theater and would often walk over right after waking up. I was usually still in my comfy clothes and would make a quick PB&J to eat for breakfast while watching the movie. Many times I was the only person in the theater, and a ticket was only $6 (!) because it was so early. I miss those days.

  77. karina says...

    Thank you, Stella! Same feeling, different country… I am an introvert in London and discovered pretty much the same thing. It’s so easy to get lost in a busy city but finding those quiet moments in the park or in a café are wonderful. It almost feels like a luxury to spend time on your own in a city with millions of others. I need this time to think, to daydream and to sort out the world in my head.

  78. I absolutely love this post. Being alone in New York is such a wonderful and scary/awful thing at the same time. Some times I’m walking down the street thinking it’s so liberating to be in a city of 9 million people and not a single one of them knows what I’m up to – I could go anywhere, be anyone I want to be. Then other days I spill my coffee on the sidewalk and the subway is running late and I just wish I had someone to vent to. I’m reading the Lonely City by Olivia Laing at the moment, which is about this experience and it’s AMAZING. I’d also highly recommend solo breakfast dates, especially during the week! It’s way easier to get a table and no one looks twice at you having breakfast alone.

    • Stella Blackmon says...

      Ah, Anna, amazing! I love the idea of solo breakfast dates. Thank you for the great book recommendation. I can’t wait to check it out.

      Stella xoxo

    • cool! I’m gong to read this! I am a super duper introvert but my internal refrain is always “I wish I had someone to talk to” and I can’t fit those parts together. I’m going to grab that book, too.

  79. As a fellow introvert, and one who longs to move to NYC no less, this post is perfect. Your solo meanderings sound exactly like the sort of thing I love, in a much smaller version, in my current town. Also, I’m thinking now that my trip to NYC this weekend should definitely include a nighttime walk over Brooklyn Bridge.

  80. Summer says...

    These are lovely! Alone time is THE BEST. Also, reheating pizza in a skillet just blew my mind. :P

  81. Glenda says...

    I love hanging with my family, but I also love my alone time as well. Reading a good book or watching a movie solo recharges me up!

  82. Lindsey says...

    This was such a sweet, lovely read. Makes me want to pick up and move to NY right now. Thank you for your delightful read!

    • Stella Blackmon says...

      Aw, that means so much to me, Lindsey. Thank you!

      Stella xx

  83. Claire Johnson says...

    So lovely. I’m similar. I am “an introvert with extrovert tendencies,” at least that is how my husband describes me. Which is often why I stay up much later than I ought too- because I have three beatiful little people to care for each day and late nights are when they are sleeping and not begging for my every moment of attention. Or very early mornings before my littlest, a mere 4 months old, is awake to nurse. I’ll steal away and try to absorb the quiet so that I can lovingly be fully present for them.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      you sound so sweet, claire!

    • Amy says...

      Right now my 9 month old is napping and the 3 and 5 year old are having ‘quiet time’ in their room and I’m soaking up every minute of not being needed so I can recharge for the afternoon. And yes…far too many nights spent staying up too late because it’s so gloriously quiet and undemanding! It occurred to me the other day that parenting might be particularly difficult for introverts in that way (one time I read about a mom who felt anxious during her kid’s naps because she was alone and couldn’t wait for him to wake up so she could have more interaction! That blew me away).

    • So interesting. I’m right around the age/relationship status where people keep asking “when are you going to have kids?” and while I think I do want kids, the idea of having no time at all to myself fills me with terror. I can’t decide what to do. I have a few more years before I have to decide for sure yes or no, but I am well aware of that ticking clock. I kind of wish I was rich with a live-in nanny so I could steal away anytime I want, but I know real life doesn’t work like that.

      P.S. This was beautifully written and so relatable, thank you!

    • Madie says...

      This post made me wonder how true introverts handle parenthood, especially in the very needy, hands-and-bodies-all-over-you-all-the-time early years… I have a 2 y/o and can’t honestly remember my last afternoon by myself or a movie alone… I guess the answer is they stay up late and enjoy the quiet! I think I may need to try harder to carve out “me time”.