Way back when I was still working in London, I wrote about my spontaneous booking of tickets to see the English National Ballet and Flawless at the Hammersmith Apollo.
There wasn’t anyone immediately available who I particularly wanted to join me, so I took myself. It was a Friday night, and my colleagues thought I was crazy and a little tragic. I may even have thought that myself for about five minutes after I left the office.
And then I realised, it wasn’t tragic, it was wonderful. The feeling of independence of doing something typically associated with group or couple outings by myself was incredible. It’s also very freeing not to have any expectations around an event or place – you don’t have to comment on it, or work around anyone else’s plans or needs – you can simply be, and absorb, and enjoy (and eat cake).
And so I’ve carried on having dates with myself when I feel the need to recharge my creative and emotional batteries.
I’ve been to gardens, museums, galleries, parks, coffee shops, restaurants, talks, all sorts. Often I’ll discover it for the first time with someone, and return on my own to appreciate it properly.
It doesn’t have to be a day out, either. Sometimes I’ll go and visit a particular shop I love, or I’ll spend an afternoon scrapbooking, delving into memories.
I might go horse riding, skating or simply sit with a slice of something sweet and watch the world go by.
It’s not always educational and it’s not always obviously connected with anything – but I always, always feel refreshed, motivated and more me when I return. Whether it’s a whole weekend or just half an hour, it helps.
I found Julia Cameron’s “Artist Date” concept via Leonie Dawson this morning, which seems to describe my dates with myself fairly accurately, and as this post was already brewing I thought it was a good sign that I should get on and write it already.
So who’s with me? Julia suggests weekly – I don’t have a schedule, but find I’m drawn to doing things alone whenever I need to recharge, which could be at any interval from a couple of days to a few months.
Whether you’re single or partnered up, a parent or child-free, see if you can find time this week to try it. There are some great suggestions at The Artist’s Way but feel free to choose anything at all to do – something you are drawn to.
The only rule is that you do it solo.
And then let me know how you got on!