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Sarasota News Leader February 8, 2013 OPINION Page 65 YEARS OF REFLECTION POINT TO THE TRUTH ABOUT MY BEST FRIEND By Harriet Cuthbert Contributing Writer COMMENTARY R e c e n t l y, a friend asked me to go with her to the Sarasota Designer Showhouse, and I told her, "No thanks, I'd rather go by myself." I used to think that if I were doing something alone that more traditionally would involve the company of another person, then people would stare at me and consider me a social outcast because I was not "with a friend" — such as going to the beach, movies, museum, What? Is this I talking, social butterfly that I etc. Even going for a walk or a run seemed to am, telling my friend that I am going solo and require companionship — anything to appear liking the idea? When did I become my own as though I fit in. best friend? And when did I begin to prefer my own company rather than joining a circle Holding a job was a situation even more likely of many? Maybe, this realization was always to encourage togetherness — group lunches brewing, but I got sidetracked along the way in the cafeteria, weekly group meetings, brainstorming as a group. by life. College encourages social interaction (i.e., sharing dorm rooms, studying for exams in groups, hanging out at local pubs). We do not think much of doing our own thing at that point, because we are still finding our own way. It is amazing we ever gain the confidence or realize we have enough personal interest in something to choose to pursue activities by ourselves. It took me awhile to realize that if I did not go by myself to my favorite events or local placAfter college, some of us get married and later es, I would miss out on all of them and then have children —two huge reasons that con- where would I be? Back home, wallowing in self-pity because I did not have the courage to tinue to make us likely to interact with othdo my own thing and enjoy it. ers. After all, it is our family members whom we love and with whom we choose to spend When you stop to consider how easy it is most of our time. Yet, all of us are growing to feel free to decide for yourself, it almost up together, but separately, and we do show makes a group activity too much of a burden. some independence to display our individual It seems as if there are far fewer time constraints when you are a group of one. Wangrowth.

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