I Go Places Alone

3 ways doing things by myself changed the general quality of my life.

Emily Malkowski | Travel & Lifestyle Blogger in Buffalo, NY

Growing up, my mom always used to tell me: Do what you love, and the money will follow.

While I’m still not convinced that laying in bed with no pants on, eating popcorn, and binge watching the Food Network is ever going to make me any money of any kind, I think I get the sentiment.

Up until a couple of months ago, I was always that bitch that’s like: “Omg, I work so much. I’m so bad at relaxing.” Always picking up shifts, keeping busy, and secretly feeding off the fact that being such a hard worker means that so many people- both at work and in my personal life- depend on me for things. The age-old workaholic.

In college, I would pile on commitment after commitment onto my plate until I was left with a heaping pile of responsibilities, served as a combo meal with two sides: an abundance of stress and a lack of sleep. I was so set on doing ALL the things because it was definitely going to help me be successful, right? And then I would definitely be happy if I was at least successful, right??

Don’t get me wrong- being a “workaholic” or just keeping yourself busy in college is not a bad thing, by any means (Honestly, my LinkedIn profile is poppin). But my point here is that after college, I did the same thing I always do- I threw myself into working full time (literally before I even graduated) because I really just wanted to have some form of success, some form of validation after spending four long years in college, not to mention the fact that I spent a fuck-ton of money to do it. Sure, I was still having a ton of fun with the people in my life. But whenever someone needed their own “me time,” it always left me a little confused, and it got old after a while.

Eventually, I started wondering what happened to all the things I used to do for myself that weren’t work or school.

And that’s when I started to go places alone.

Emily Malkowski | Travel & Lifestyle Blogger in Buffalo, NY

It started simple- just seeing a movie by myself here and there on my scattered days off, or maybe just sitting in a cute coffee shop by myself and writing for a few hours. Eventually it turned into starting this blog, creating my own personal mission to travel the country and hopefully someday the world. Either way, doing whatever I’ve wanted to do by myself and for myself for the last couple of months has: 1) Made me a lot more thoughtful with what I do put on my plate, 2) Exponentially improved my relationship with myself, and 3) Seems to make “real-life” a lot more bearable on a regular basis. For the most part, that is.

I’m not saying that going places and traveling alone suddenly helped me become this super self-secure person 100% of the time. What I am saying is that asking yourself what you want, what you really want and then doing that holds more weight to it in terms of self-care and self-love than you’d think. Even if it is as silly as just seeing a movie on your day off.

And yes, I still have responsibilities and I literally have to have a job to make money to survive, but being picky about how I spend my free time has made me generally appreciate it more.  Now, I actually have things to look forward to that keep me going- whether it be a full-blown solo trip to Austin next month, or just carving out time on my next day off to go to my favorite coffee shop and order a big ass latte. Hashtag treat yo self.