One final story: For the first six months of 2005 I lived alone in Montreal; I went because I was overwhelmed and I picked Montreal because I had no friends there, and for the first few weeks all I experienced were pangs of withdrawal for everyone I loved. It was awful and all-consuming… and then it passed. And once it passed, I was in heaven. There I sat in my lovely, cheap apartment – no distractions, no email, surrounded by books. There was a grocery store across the street. The mountain was two blocks away, and I could climb it whenever I wanted. Self-confidence, health, happiness, the equanimity of the non-smoker – all were mine.

And then… I destroyed it. I met someone and then another person and before I knew it, all of the chaos of life came back, along with all my self-doubt and anxiety and fear.

But perhaps that’s what it’s for – self-confidence and courage and energy and peace – perhaps it’s to be used in the world. Perhaps there’s only one thing to do with it: spend it.

I’m always super-conscious of how whenever I go out into the world, whenever I get involved in a relationship, my idea of who I think I am utterly collides with the reality of who I actually am. And I continue to go out even though who I am always comes up short. I always prove myself to be less generous, less charming, less considerate, not as bold or energetic or intelligent or courageous as I imagined in my solitude. And I’m always being insulted, or snubbed, or disappointed. And I’m never in my pyjamas.

And yet, in some way, maybe this is better.

Why Go out by Sheila Heti

(This is perfect.)