Clearly, in this very busy world we find ourselves navigating, there are times when we crave to be alone. And, time alone is important and beneficial for rest and reflection. But for many of us, our social plans are the source of relaxed interaction with others, a way for decompressing from the demands of life or, if one works alone, a way of reconnecting with the world. So what happens when you are ripe and ready for some fun or stimulating conversation and, suddenly, plans get canceled?
What do you do when you find yourself alone?
I could be wrong about this, but many of us may find ourselves doing the easiest thing … vegging out in front of the TV, disappointed and feeling a bit sorry for ourselves.
Recently a coaching client and I discussed this issue and decided to brainstorm an action plan to have on hand when he found himself in just such a position. Here is what we came up with:
First, make a list of your “go-to” people. These are the people you can call on the spur of the moment to possibly set up an impromptu gathering. Start your list with the person who is most likely available down to the least available. This sets you up for success.
Secondly, make a list of all the possibilities for meeting, from getting a drink, going to a movie, walking a dog to playing cards or just hanging out. You know who your people are, so as you make your list keep in mind what they like to do and also what you like to do. Brainstorm fun and interesting options, making your list as long and creative as you can.
Now do the math: by pairing one of your “go-to’s” with an activity, you have created a host of options!
Yes, there is always the chance that not a single person on your “go-to” list is available. So, what now? Well, while you are in the list-making mode, make another one of all the things you could do on your own, both at home and out in the world.
Not long ago, I made one of these lists myself. I was away from my family for an extended period of time, in a place where I knew few people. I often found myself on my own in the evenings. Though I actually enjoy solitary time, after working alone all day at my computer I needed a stimulating change of focus, and the “veg in front of the TV option” just wasn’t going to do it for me.
So, from my list I made activity cards, writing out one activity per card. I shuffled them like a deck of playing cards and made a commitment to myself that I would do whichever activity I picked. I played the game and stuck to the rules.
It was actually fun and, most importantly, it worked! Depending on what I picked (I made equal numbers of at-home and out-in-the world activity cards), I either focused on something I like to do on my own at home, or I got out of the house and connected with other people.
Even when I picked a card that said “watch a movie” and ended up in front of the TV, it felt different – more purposeful and committed rather than empty and at loose ends.
We have the ability to create our own experiences. We don’t have to wait around for life to happen to us! Make your lists and keep them handy. You never know when it will be up to you to create your own last-minute fun.