Towards the end of August, I became increasingly nervous about slow season. On St. John there are a couple months that are very slow, so a lot of people leave to go travel, go home, or move on to their next adventure. My roommate was going back home for the entire month, most of my close friends were doing the same thing, a lot of my friends were leaving indefinitely, and I was terrified. I am a by-the-book extrovert and I’ve had a lot of trouble being alone. I had serious anxiety throughout the days leading up to Carly leaving and couldn’t stop thinking about how much I would hate going home to an empty house every single day after work.
Since my very first boyfriend, I have been in back to back relationships all the way through college and up until I moved. This is by far the longest I have ever been single. I thought about how much easier slow season would be if I was with someone to feel like I actually had something tying me here while all of my friends were either with their families or off seeing the world. Though it does sound nice in theory…my slow season actually KICKED ASS. And it was (almost) completely boy-free. #GirlPower.
I spent almost every single sunset during slow season sitting on an overlook with Hannah and a $5 bottle of wine. We got off work at the same time, blasted the same 5 songs in my car, drank cheap red wine out of foam cups, and talked about anything and everything. We had all of this time that we had never had before because so many of our friends were gone, so many restaurants were closed, and we just got to sit down and breathe for a little while. It was amazing.
I started to feel indifferent about going home alone every night. I didn’t dread making the trek up my stairs into my dark apartment, because I really started to learn how to enjoy being alone. I used the energy I would normally put into my friends or a relationship, and put it towards myself. I went through a bit of a rough patch and I felt extremely stagnant. I didn’t want to be alone, but I didn’t have a choice so I made a conscious decision to just be ok with it. I needed that time to remind myself of my worth, to remember why I’m here, and to learn and experience every part of living on this island. Slow season is one of the tough parts, but if you do it right, it can actually be one of the best parts.
The day before mine and Hannah’s roommates came home, we took our final trip to the overlook with a bottle of wine. We weren’t exactly ready for our routine to change, but started to get excited about all of the new life that high season will bring. Everyone seemed to come back within the same week, and everything returned to normal very quickly. I stood at Doghouse last night, scanned the room, and I was so blissfully happy that I was with all of my friends in the same place.
Loneliness is something that doesn’t necessarily have to be fixed by not being alone. It can be fixed by learning how to be alone, how to enjoy it, and how to make the best of it. I’ve been needing to learn that lesson for a very long time and over the past couple of months I feel like I have become much stronger and much more stable. I feel very…content. I don’t know if I’m in a place of extreme happiness at the moment, but I am definitely not miserable. Content is ok. Whether it is being comfortable spending time by myself, or having all of my friends back, all I know is that I’m really not lonely anymore or at all scared of being alone. If you can’t fix it, you can always just learn to be ok with it. It’s always temporary.
“If she’s lonely now, she won’t be lonely long.”