Ticket for One – Skating with Myself
Ticket for One
When we date another person, we spend time getting to know them, so eventually we can tune into their needs and desires. We want to know what makes them tick and what makes them special, eventually developing a fondness for them – or even love.
Why, then, do so many of us struggle with dating ourselves? Why do we wait for other people to join us on adventures? Why don’t we make a point to buy a ticket for one? Why don’t we take time to tune into our personal needs and desires, thereby deepening our fondness and love for our own unique individuality?
I’m the oldest of four children. I grew up in a neighborhood bustling with families of other kids my age, and my graduating class fell just shy of 700 classmates. In a community like that, a little social effort goes a long way. Just ringing on a few doorbells or making a few phone calls finds you a playmate or friend who’s ready for adventure. And if no one in my neighborhood was available, I always had my younger siblings to torture entertain.
When I became an adult and moved to New York City, I was astounded by how lonely it could be in a city of millions of people. Neighbors that lived in your building seemed miles away, and the threshold to cross from acquaintance to friendship appeared riddled with challenges. Inevitably, I found groups of people with whom I shared common interests, but making plans with a busy New Yorker often feels next to impossible.
I once overheard another single female acquaintance recounting her weekend snowboarding adventure. She had packed her belongings, hopped aboard a bus, and left the city for a solo adventure on the slopes. With admiration, I complimented her independence, and she replied saying, “If you want to do something, you can’t wait for someone to join you… otherwise you’ll never do anything.”
Her words rang in my ears for over a year before I finally started to fully embrace their significance. As a self-proclaimed workaholic, I was noticing life passing me by at an accelerating pace. More-so, I was losing touch with myself, my interests, and my personal passions.
It was then that I finally decided it was time to date myself. The spring flowers were budding, and yet I realized that despite making many failed plans to go ice skating during the winter, I still hadn’t stepped onto the ice. So, one Saturday, I took the train down to the Chelsea Piers Sky Rink. I felt my face grow hot as I tentatively asked for a ticket for one. I imagined all eyes on me as I quickly laced up my skates, and I could feel my pulse quicken as I carefully entered the rink.
The first half hour was miserable. It was like I was exercising in a fish bowl. Feeling out of place and counting down the minutes, I even noticed I was sweating – probably more out of nervousness than physical exertion. Finally, it was time for the Zamboni to smooth out the rink, and I was forced take a break. I committed to staying for another 30 minutes, posted an Instagram update, and felt frustratingly amazed at how difficult it was for me to simply be with myself during an activity.
Eventually I went back out onto the ice, decided I would attempt to let go and enjoy the rest of my time, and skated away. Faster and faster I rounded the circles, suddenly letting my arms sway to the music, getting lost in thought, and even smiling as I slid along. My body relaxed, my mind cleared, and I tuned into myself. I actually started enjoying the experience, having fun, and felt contented. — Content with myself.
Regardless of our relationship status, community affiliation, or availability of friends and family, spending time with one’s self is profoundly important. Not only does dating ourselves allow us to deepen our self-love and personal understanding, but it also allows us to more deeply connect with those around us. The more we understand and cherish our personal needs, desires, and unique characteristics, the more we can see the same in others.
Start asking for a ticket for one. Get to know you. It might feel uncomfortable if you’re not used to it, but you may discover a true friend in yourself that you didn’t know you had.
Do you have a #BeautifulShame Story that you want to share? Send an email to email@example.com that outlines: 1). Your struggle 2). How you’ve used creativity as an outlet to deal with it 3). How you feel now. — Feel free to include photos, videos, music, poetry, or anything else!