13 things to do alone

Growing up as an only child and living in a country club community where the average age was 65, I discovered that some things are just better when you do them alone.

Since starting college, I have become even more aware of the many ways I can enjoy myself without any company. When my friends are busy, I simply go do something on my own. Being content when you are alone is not about biding your time until the next social engagement. It’s about spending some down time doing things you truly enjoy without the input or pressure from other people.

Believe it or not, the movie theater is a great place to go unaccompanied. You can choose the movie without any negotiation, season your popcorn however you like and watch peacefully without anyone trying to make intermittent comments about the acting or the plot.

The mall is also a place you do not want to deal with unwarranted remarks. Your friends may mock your choice in clothing or get frustrated when you linger in a store. Shopping alone, you can take all the time you like.

In fact, shopping at a bookstore can be equally gratifying. You can leisurely sit down and read a few pages of a book you are considering or spend an hour in the music section listening to CDs before you make your purchase. With no one to get impatient, you can spend the whole day making selections.

If shopping is not your idea of fun, you can always spend your alone time on self-improvement.

Everyone knows that getting your exercise is important, and one enjoyable way to do it alone is going to the gym. Bring a magazine or your MP3 player and jump on the bicycle or the treadmill. You can escape from your day, clear your head and get a good workout in the process.

The gym is not for everyone; swimming serves as a great alternative. It is a way to burn calories, and basking poolside in the sun after a hard swim certainly has its merit.

Interestingly enough, the very act of getting to these places is, in itself, a great thing to do alone. Driving with the music turned up while singing at the top of your lungs is just not a group activity.

But nothing says you have to go anywhere to have a good time by yourself. Staying in has just as much potential as going out.

While cooking is something not many college students enjoy, a night at home can be livened up by following a new recipe. A full belly and a sense of accomplishment make great companions.

After a hearty meal, there is nothing more relaxing than a long, soothing bubble bath. Enjoy the tranquility of candlelight and soft music or use the time to catch up on your reading.

Crossword puzzles, which better suits those looking for a more mind-stimulating activity, are another good alternative. They compel you to mentally challenge yourself and can be very educational.

Likewise, new online games that test your knowledge and intellect are coming out every day. Games such as solitaire are not your only computer gaming options anymore. A wide variety of online games lets you play against people from all over the world, in games such as Scrabble, poker and chess.

If you dislike computers or are more of an artistic type, try some creative writing. Whether it is in the form of a short story, a poem or a screenplay, expressing yourself will prove rewarding and therapeutic.

Yet another way to get creative is to make a photo album. Scrapbooking solidifies memories and allows you to savor them forever.

Music also conjures up feelings we have experienced at some point in our past. Try creating a music mix of your favorite songs. It will undoubtedly be interesting to reflect on 10 years down the road.

These are only 13 options for the plethora of things that can be done when you find yourself as your only companion. After all, the best friend you can ever have is yourself.