Summer can be a lonely time. We may not get to see our friends from school everyday and a lack of structured activity can lead to long days spent alone at home. This can lead to a persistent feeling of isolation – it certainly has for me. As a college student, I have friends who live out of the state and return to their homes for the summer. I do have local friends, but planning activities with them is difficult – we have to navigate around our work and vacation schedules, and more often than not, our plans fall through. For a while, I felt hopeless about this situation. How could I ease this heavy loneliness when it was nearly impossible to see my friends? I talked to my therapist about this, and she suggested that simply getting out of the house and going someplace new could help.
I tried this out for myself, and I’ve had great results! I started by visiting local coffee shops, which have an atmosphere of focus and motivation for me. I’ve made some great strides in my writing while I’m at these cafés, and since I’m around the other customers, I don’t feel so isolated. I’ve also engaged in some people-watching and reflection. Everyone has a different reason for being at the café; some might be on a lunch break, some might be there for a job interview, some might be catching up with an old friend. It’s a place where different stories intersect for a time, and something about that just warms my heart.
I then expanded my travel list to places I pass through but don’t really linger in. I’ve sat in libraries, where I’m usually in and out quickly once I find the books I need, and parks that I often drive by but never visit. Seeing these familiar spaces in a new way has made me more mindful of my surroundings – there are so many things we miss in our busy lives, and spending some time alone in one of these places can be quite exciting as you discover new things about them!
I’m continuing to visit new places on my excursions, and it’s a very powerful way to combat the isolation I feel at home. If you’re feeling stifled by long hours at home, try visiting someplace new or going to a public space and observing your surroundings. There are so many things you’ll learn about both new and familiar spaces, and there’s bound to be other people around, so you’re not really alone!
Are there any places around you that you’ve wanted to visit and spend time in? What do you to make you feel less isolated, especially during the summer?