De-Twinning: Finding Myself, By Myself

Photo Credit: Colton Sturgeon/Unsplash

When to-do lists start to overflow and schedules become tight, self-care is typically among the first priorities that gets thrown out the window. However, from personal experience, I’ve learned that every other facet of life is directly affected by your own mindset.  

When I devote time on my calendar to exercise, relaxation, and activities that bring me fulfillment and joy, my heightened self-confidence and self-worth permeate my various life roles, helping me to become a better employee, friend, sister, and a generally more understanding human being. 

Within the art of self-care, there is one particular space in which I have very little familiarity and which I zeroed in on during September’s National Self-Care Awareness Month: me time

Building My Independence

Growing up as a twin, I shared nearly every moment and life milestone with my sister. We played on the same sports teams, shared the same group of friends, and worked our first jobs at the same restaurant. We even finagled our high school schedules so we could be in nearly all of the same classes. 

I don’t believe my twin sister and I spent more than 24 hours apart until we reached college. And even then, we still played on the same volleyball team and lived in the same campus house for three out of four years. 

The words "we" and "our" replaced "I" and "my" within my vocabulary for the majority of my life. 

Don’t get me wrong, I adore my sister and will forever be grateful for the companionship and bond we share. But, I’ve come to realize through these years constantly at her side that I never truly discovered how to navigate life by myself and how to enjoy my own company. 

When my sister accepted a job over 1,000 miles away from me last year, I struggled with this new reality, and in a way, I leaned on my boyfriend to fill this role. But, more importantly, I also began to find my independence and individuality. 

Through this newfound alone time, I have been able to uncover parts of myself I didn’t previously understand. I now recognize the joy and sense of accomplishment I feel from having a job, friends, hobbies, and activities that belong only to me. I’m slowly transitioning away from my identity as "one of the twins" (as many of my friends and family commonly put it) and instead into my own individual person.  

I’ve only scratched the surface, but I plan to continue getting to know myself through this new lens. During self-care month and hopefully long after, I intend to prioritize my alone time, whether it be taking a drive, going on a walk, taking a class, sitting at the park, or just running to the store — but whatever it is, it will be done all by myself

With any luck, I can build the foundation for my future self-care needs and routines and find a version of myself I've overlooked for the past 24 years.

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