REFLECTION: Going out alone

Scott Rainey (New)

Scott Rainey

A text popped up on my phone on last Tuesday night. It was an automated text from the Columbus Blue Jackets telling me to buy tickets for the hockey game later that night against the Washington Capitals. The Blue Jackets have “Student Rush” tickets that sell at a discount to high school and college students. It’s a nice deal, but they send out the text the day of the game as a way to get you to impulse buy your tickets. That’s just what I did.

The Capitals and the Blue Jackets are my two favorite teams in the NHL. I’d be cheating myself if I didn’t go see them play each other while only spending 20 bucks on a ticket. The only problem? It was on a Tuesday night and I would have to drive two hours to Columbus and then two hours home. I would also have to be up early for work in the morning.

I began asking my friends to see if they’d accompany me. Nobody took the offer, as it was hard for them to justify a trip two hours out on a Tuesday. For the first time, something inside me told me that I should just go alone. I wanted to go to the game, so who was I to let the lack of company stop me from doing so?

I quickly weighed the pros and cons of the trip. One the one hand, it’s the Stanley Cup champions playing my hometown team, and I love both of them. So I should go. On the other hand, I’d be getting home late, so I’d be tired the next morning. So I… shouldn’t go? Easiest decision of my life. I went to watch them play.

I have eaten alone at places after a work shift, but I have never planned to go anywhere by myself. In the past, I wouldn’t have even considered it. This time, I knew I would be doing myself a huge disservice by staying home and boringly watch Netflix or read. I could go to the game, be social, enjoy my favorite teams playing my favorite sport and push my boundaries about what is and isn’t socially acceptable or at least normal.

I met a couple guys there who were happy to talk about hockey every so often. I wasn’t inserting myself into their conversation, but I was being social. I recommend that everyone do this as soon as you can.

Go somewhere alone where you can enjoy the activity you’re doing, and just say ‘hi’ to somebody. It may seem weird at first, but just do it. You’re stretching your limits, and you’re going to have a good time. That’s what happened to me. It was an incredibly freeing experience to realize that I could just go somewhere and not have a friend as a crutch.

Don’t waste your life by waiting on others to do things with you. Go see a movie alone. Go to a game alone. Go to the mall, the museum, the zoo—anywhere really. Don’t try to find a group to hang out with; just go by yourself and say hi to people. You’ll realize that nobody actually judges you for it, and you gain a sense of control over your life once you let go of the need for someone else to be there. This is the coolest thing I’ve done in a while, and I did it on a whim. I’m not wasting opportunities anymore and neither should you!

Scott Rainey is columnist. Contact him at [email protected].