How to Be Alone (on Your Birthday or Any Other Day)

Heidi S.
4 min readAug 11, 2022

Today is my birthday. I’m not a big fan, not because I mind getting older so much as I’m just not a celebratory person. But a dear friend of mine once said she feels like it’s worthwhile to acknowledge her birthday with gratitude, because she knows enough people who haven’t made it this far. And, unfortunately, I know enough people who never made it this far, too.

In lieu of a celebration, I’m writing this.

I’m not good at very many things. But I am good at being alone.

Photo by Kevin Lee on Unsplash

Part of it is just how I’m built, I think. I have trouble initiating contact with other people, with communication that feels mutually understood, and thus with building connections. If you’re not built like me, I’m sure it’s more difficult, but I’m going to impart some lessons anyway.

Part of being alone are the standard things you’ll find in a self-help book or hear from a therapist — find hobbies and interests, don’t compare yourself to others, live in a way that works for you (not how society tells you to live), don’t diminish yourself to accommodate others. You’ll find when you do these things that some people might not fit in your life, and sometimes you just have to let them go.

Another part of being alone is accepting that you are never the most important person in anyone else’s life, and that’s okay.

It really is. You might find that sad, but it isn’t sad to me.

Because I’m still here. I still feel important to me. You might have seen me write or say before that I don’t feel like a person most of the time. But whatever I am, I’m still a part of the world (whether I always want to be or not).

It’s true I’m a misanthrope in many ways. I hate the cruel things people say and do — their thoughtless reactivity, their bandwagoning, their totally inconsistent moral compasses. I hate petty things, too, like the way they drive too fast or don’t have the decency to use trash bins or get defensive about whether you like or don’t like the same things they do. I hate when they’re loud.

And honestly most of you aren’t nearly as interesting as you think you are. But that’s okay, too. Because I also love people — I do.

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Heidi S.

PhD in philosophy | Feminist | Anarchist | Pop culture junkie | Kpop listener | Actually Autistic