Miss Independent…Miss Self-sufficient…Miss Keep-your-distance.
Miss Unafraid…Miss Outta-my-way…
This is my theme song – Miss Independent by Kelly Clarkson.
For those of you who keep up with my blogs, you know that I have changed my address three times in the last year.
I left basically e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g behind in the process—family, friends, job, paycheck and my hometown—making a lot of my experiences independent ones.
Whether it’s spending about eight hours driving while karaokeing to myself in the car or exploring different cities, seeing their typical tourist attractions and trying their “signature” cuisines, I am mainly going at these adventures alone.
Now some people complain about being alone, lonely, single, solo, all-by-myself (you know you just sang that)—and I’d be lying if I said I never did that because I’ve definitely had my fair share of “downer” moments—but I’ve also had plenty of great moments with even better memories.
Actually, it’s kind of nice to explore different places on my own. I don’t feel rushed, I can take my time, come and go as I please and soak it all in whenever I want—well, of course, when I’m not waitressing or interning. It’s allows me to learn to love myself.
I know it sounds kind of strange, but you really have to be okay with who you are and what you’re working towards before you can fully balance adding other people and elements to the mix.
Like I said, it is challenging, and there are a lot of times when I feel so alone and really miss my family and friends, but I just keep telling myself that No. 1 it’ll all pay off, and No. 2 enjoy and embrace these moments of just going with the flow and not having to think too much about how my choices might affect someone else.
I’m a firm believer in the idea that there is something good to be had in everything and everybody, but it’s up to you to find it.
While you may not always succeed in that regard, you can work to make the most of it and use it as a learning experience.
For me, I’ve explored the typical touristy areas of Chicago—Grant and Millennium Park, the Bean, Navy Pier, Wrigley Field (and Comiskey/U.S.Cellular Field), Sears (Wilson) Tower, the Hancock Building, Michigan Avenue and Water Tower Place—but I’ve also ventured into Lakeview, or Boystown, to watch the Blue Man Group,
I’ve tried different brunch restaurants throughout the city, worked out in a yoga studio, took a cycling class, watched the NCAA Div. I Men’s Volleyball Champs—the Loyola University Ramblers—play, reported in various neighborhoods and suburbs, and so much more.
Now that I’m in Philadelphia, I’ve mapped out sections of the city to explore on certain days before I go in to intern. I’ve made a day trip to Washington, D.C. to shadow and network with a Columbia alum at CNN, walked around King of Prussia (the largest mall on the East Coast), had the Wawa experience (which is like a made-to-order food and gas station), rode a mechanical bull—for the first time—at a local country bar and will be “going down the shore” next weekend.
While I wish I was doing more, had more time to relax or at least had somebody to share these experiences with, it does make for long phone conversations with all my friends and family when we do our weekly or bi-weekly calls. And of course I have visitors from time to time. Regardless, looking back it, I wouldn’t trade it for anything.
So be Miss (or Mister) Independent…self-sufficient…unafraid…and on your own. Nothing is ever permanent or guaranteed. So enjoy, embrace and live it up!