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  • Writer's pictureJ J Hanna

Dinner in an Empty Park

Recently I had the privilege of traveling alone to a park. I had food to eat but did not desire to stay in the restaurant, so I went to a park. I wanted to be alone. I remained in my car with the windows open as I ate my Subway sandwich, enjoying the radio and the fresh air. As I sat there, however, I allowed myself to relish in the sweet existence of having no expectations. I could simply sit and be, acting as whoever I wanted to be in that moment. There were no expectations from friends, no reason to rush my time. I enjoyed it immensely. To sit alone with your thoughts is the only way to truly become acquainted with who you are. Who you are when no one can tell you who to be, what you want when no one can influence you, that is who you are at your core. That won't ever change. I think that's amazing! The singular fact that every single person is going to be different in that circumstance is awe-inspiring. Some people find it frightening to allow themselves this sort of space. It's scary to not have a definition. But can I let you in on a little secret? It's okay to be scared. It's okay to feel confused, to be unsure of who you are and what you want, so long as you figure it out eventually. As long as you don't stay in the uncertainty, it's a healthy place to be. Anyway, while I sat in my car, watching an empty park, I could be whoever I wanted—realistically or not. If I wanted to be angry I could, if I wanted to have a crazy dance party I could, but I could just as easily pretend that I was a police officer on a stakeout, waiting for suspicious persons to walk into view. (Funny enough, there was a suspicious person. They stood in one place looking toward the empty parking lot in confusion. Then they walked away. When I saw them next they were accompanied by someone, so I can only guess that they were looking for that other person. Regardless, I had fun imagining why they might be there.) My encouragement to you this week is to take a few moments out of your busy life to check in with who you are, what you want, without the outside influences of friends or media. Step away from what society says you should be, and take the time to become who you want to be. It's worth it.

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