Alone

Sitting on the seaside cliffs in the Icelandic town of Keflavik waiting for my connecting flight to whisk me back to the world of the real, I have the chance to reflect on my experiences in Germany and Europe. This is my first time alone in a country and somehow feels like my first time alone ever. I learned how to be alone these past six months, and how to like it. I spent time in churches alone in Marburg sometimes. I would pray. I’m not religious but it just felt right. I would ask God or something what I was supposed to do with my life, for the guidance to be on the right path, for some sign that my impact in this world will be greater than me. I guess it was a time for me to reflect just for me, not for a letter to someone or a Facebook post; just a time to be. It was peaceful and sad and reassuring. I figure at least I am asking the right questions, at least I am asking the questions everyone asks: “Why are we here?”. But sitting on the coast with the chilly sea breeze brushing me with goosebumps while the sun at the same time warms my face in this small fishing town in Iceland, that doesn’t seem to matter. It is a question we have to answer for ourselves. No one is there to tell us what to do or how to live our lives, we just have to do what feels right for us. Being alone always helps me realize how much I do because of other people, and not because of me. Not that this is a bad thing –we are social creatures– I just start to reflect on the ways our fears shape us to be the kind of people we think other people want us to be. I think what I have most taken away from my time here is my appreciation for being alone. I enjoyed lunch today alone at a table at a restaurant. I was amazed by the sympathetic stares –the kind I had always given to every person I have seen travelling or eating alone– and I don’t care. I want to be alone.  I want to travel alone, to feel whole and not lonely or lacking in doing so. I love people. I love family, and friends, and romance, and growing up in a family of twelve never really afforded me time to be alone. I had a twin by my side all 21 years; even in Germany she was there. I was afraid of being alone. I am alone for the first time in my life, really alone, and it feels sweet and warm and real. I feel real.

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