Kaitlin’s Column: Spending time with me

Kaitlin Ryan, Arts & Life Editor

I wrote the other week about how the last year of my life taught me how important it is to work on yourself. I advocated for the journey of becoming okay with who you are before worrying about what others think of who you are. 

In order to become this newly-updated and fine-tuned version of yourself, you need to like yourself. I recently found the best way to do that is by spending quality time alone: taking mini adventures after work, trying out a new workout class and listening to the tiny voice that says “You know, I’ve always wanted to…” then running with it. 

A look over the falls in downtown Chagrin Falls, OH. (Kaitlin Ryan)

For so long, I lived on a schedule that focused on completing tasks. Go to class, check. Go to work, check. Make dinner, check, but with reluctance, so let’s order takeout again.

Now, I have started living life like they do in television shows: the ones that make you think, “When do these kids go to school?” Maybe it’s the two-months-left-of-college in me talking and the infamous “senioritis” is brewing. Regardless, I have this newfound love for doing things that make me happy, solely for the fact that they do. My priorities are shifted, and it is a great feeling.

For example, after getting off work a few Fridays ago, I took myself out to downtown Chagrin Falls. It was just about dusk, school children with their backpacks hanging off their shoulders were being picked up by their parents and the falls were flowing beautifully against the autumn leaves; it was a scene so picturesque that I felt like I was in a Hallmark movie. 

I visited several shops, spending as much time as I wanted in each and making small talk with the cashiers. As I left with my newly-purchased candle — adding to my monstrous collection — I realized that some people would consider my evening out a “main character moment.” 

Often used online, these moments are often described as living carefree, breaking the rules, appreciating the finer things in life and acting spontaneously. Sure, it is a cute phrase, but isn’t this just living life?

The candle in question. Purchased from Winds of Change in Chagrin Falls, OH. (Kaitlin Ryan)

I think that we have lost the art of simply living, taking time for ourselves to just be and graze the Earth as we please, that doing so is almost considered to be something outside of the norm.

I intend on continuing to take myself out on dates — while that term may sound quite sad — and appreciate all the things I overlook. On my morning commute, I pass so many parks I would love to visit. Even some parking lots look so empty without my car inside. 

If you ever get the urge to spend some time with yourself and explore somewhere new, I urge you to do it. We simply don’t live for ourselves enough.