Why I Love/Hate Going to the Movies By Myself

Last week, I tried with all my might to kick jet lag’s ass. I made sure to stay busy from the moment I flung myself out of bed to the second I hit the hay.

I walked the dog, I grocery shopped, I wrote, I met potential business partners for coffee (yep! That happened!). And I did something I felt guilty about.

I went to a matinee alone.

Going to a movie by myself isn’t the scary endeavor it used to be. I’ve done it one other time and didn’t give it one second’s thought after saying, “One, for The Wrestler.”

Employees at the movie theater don’t care that you are alone. Your fellow movie goers don’t care. Many of them are alone, too. So what, who cares! And you shouldn’t talk during a movie anyhow, so there’s no need to be social. AND you can get whatever concessions you want! Half Diet Coke, half Cherry Coke. Sour Patch Kids. Popcorn without all that weird fake butter.

Or, if you’re like me, you’ll just sneak in a fancy coffee.

Movies alone. What’s not to love?! The only downside is that you don’t have anyone to discuss the movie with immediately following the film. (< said in a snobby British accent)

Anyhow, I was out of town for pretty much all of January, which means my regular mad dash to see all of the Oscar flicks is truncated this year. As an aside, why must all of the nominated movies come out at the same GD time?! Spread ’em out a little, wouldja?

I’d decided to see the Theory of Everything, the story of Stephen Hawking’s incredible life. I’d heard mixed reviews, but my brother and sister-in-law loved it, and it was up for a bunch of awards! Plus, it had that adorable actor Eddie Redmayne from My Week with Marilyn.

The movie was playing the Edina Landmark Theater at 1 pm, just a 15 minute drive from my house. En route, I started visualizing an inevitable conversation:

Josh: So, how was your day?

Um… good? I worked super hard on my blog that is making SO MUCH MONEY (spoiler alert: it isn’t), then I did something from 1 – 3 that was not at home, and then came home and worked so hard. And I made you dinner!

I started feeling really guilty that I could drop everything in the middle of a Tuesday and just go see a movie. Meanwhile, my husband is juggling his real job and grad school.

I wasn’t afraid of going to the movie alone. I feared my husband/friends/the real world would resent me for doing something so recreational during the work day.

In this case, recreational is a nice word for lazy.

I wouldn’t have felt the same shame if I’d gone two days earlier on a Sunday, or four hours later, after the 5 o’clock bell. But since it was during the hours traditionally set aside to work, I felt like I was doing something really naughty.

And not naughty in a good way.

I think this hits on one of the biggest challenge working from home. Your time is no longer structured in a scripted way, which sometimes leads to feelings of I’m slacking.

I’ll often have worked two hours before I’d normally have even started working at my last job, and many nights I’ll spend a few hours working when I normally would’ve been watching GIRLS. Weekends? I work then, too.

Self employment is incredibly rewarding, especially when you’re doing something you love.

However, it’s not easy.

What’s easy is blurring the lines between work and real life and never taking a breather.

Everyone deserves some down time, whether it’s a crack of dawn workout, meeting friends for happy hour or seeing a movie in the middle of the day with a bunch of blue hairs.

So I’m owning it.

Sometimes I see movies in the middle of a weekday. Sometimes I spend a Saturday night writing on the couch until 2 am, slowly cooking my thighs with my laptop, even though I know ‘it’s not actually intended to sit on your lap.’ (< that’s what the guy at the Apple store told me when I complained about the heat from my laptop… PS Why is it called a laptop if it can’t sit atop your lap?!).

When Josh asked about my day, I told him exactly how I’d spent my time.

And you know what?

I was right to have felt guilty.

But not for the reason I’d anticipated. He didn’t care that I saw a movie in the middle of the day. As it turns out, the Theory of Everything is one of the only movies my husband actually wants to see.

Ah, crap!

Oh well, at least I liked the film. I suspect I may be watching it again, real soon, with company.

* * *

Movies alone: Yay or nay?

PS This isn’t my first solo challenge. Eating dinner alone was a lot more fun than walking in the woods alone. And one of my first-ever Hey Eleanor obstacles: putting air in my car’s tires all by myself.

Sign up with your email address to receive news and updates.

I completely respect your privacy.

You might also like

Comments (13)

  • Ashley 2 years ago Reply

    So on point. I feel guilty doing this as well (except for grocery shopping. No guilt there, just the glory of a mostly empty market!). I keep having to remind myself that without making a structure for my day and taking time for breaks I am burning myself out. My boyfriend is also working and in school right now, so there are a lot of times that I either have to do things on my own or wait until he has time, which ends up messing up my timeline a lot (aka going out too late because working retail means getting home at 7:30 earliest). It’s OK to take the time when you can, even though I think there isn’t a way to stop that nagging voice in my head.

    I’ve only gone to one movie by myself (that Tim didn’t want to see, and he was away for the weekend) and I enjoyed it. I have been thinking of doing it again recently; our local theater has Tuesday discounts!

    molly mogren katt 2 years ago Reply

    I, too, have zero guilt about grocery shopping or cooking. One of the perks of getting to do stuff in the middle of a weekday is how quiet everything is. The best!

    Aside from that, I think learning that you can do things alone is something that opens a lot of possibilities, no matter your work schedule. I can’t even begin to count the exhibits, movies, plays, events I wanted to attend but didn’t because no one could go with me.

    Googling matinee movie deals now.

    PS does anyone else read MANATEE when you see the word MATINEE?

    Phyll 2 years ago

    YES! lol an afternoon show at the zoo.. now that’s just getting crazy 😉

    Ashley 2 years ago

    So so quiet! When everyone is home now I find there is way too much noise.
    Good point about all the places one doesn’t go to because they don’t want to go alone. I’m guilty of that. Reminds me that there are a lot of free museums at Yale that I need to visit…

    Well NOW whenever I read Matinee I am TOTALLY reading Manatee.
    Manatees are my favorite sea creature!!

  • Phyll 2 years ago Reply

    Since shifting to working remote for the past 3 months, I’ve totally felt this too. Sometimes I’ll go to a yoga class at 11am and feel sooo guilty because all my colleagues are online working through those hours! But then I remind myself that sometimes I’m online working till midnight, or spending my entire Saturday on my laptop. The lines between personal life & work time are blurred, and I’m still trying to find my balance, but it IS starting to feel more manageable overall

    molly mogren katt 2 years ago Reply

    I love those mid-day, kind of empty yoga classes.

  • Lee Davenport 2 years ago Reply

    This is really weird- I am reading this about 2 hours before I go see the SAME MOVIE by myself!!. The only difference is that even though it’s still during most people’s work day, it is after mine because I am a baker. And I never feel guilty about stuff like this anyway. Life is too short for guilt unless you do something illegal. 🙂

    molly mogren katt 2 years ago Reply

    I’ve even done illegal things I don’t feel guilty about 😉

  • Tera C 2 years ago Reply

    Yay. Definitely yay. I’m stepping up my watching movies alone game. 🙂 For the past couple of years, I have made it a point to see at least one Sundance film alone. It can be lonely not being able to share the excitement with someone else, but it’s a different experience.
    Love your blog!!

    molly mogren katt 2 years ago Reply

    Thanks! And I like the commitment to seeing at least one movie alone a year. I’ll bet you look forward to it.

  • Sandy 2 years ago Reply

    Love, love, love seeing movies alone. I, too, sneak in coffees or less expensive snacks and just enjoy a movie that I pick.

  • Cathy 2 years ago Reply

    The blurring of personal time and work time is one of the reasons I quit working from home and went to work in an office! When I worked from home, I felt guilty about the time I spent working because I wasn’t spending time with my family, and when I spent time with my family I felt guilty that I wasn’t working. For me, having structured work hours alleviates this. Of course, I do miss being able to work out in the middle of the day, or take my daughter to the zoo when it’s not crowded, but I could just never find that balance working from home.

    molly mogren katt 2 years ago Reply

    I definitely feel ya on that. It’s so hard to organize your time when you work from home, especially because I want to enjoy the flexibility, but then also run the risk of working at night and annoying your family. Or feeling guilty about time you should be spending with family. Currently, my husband is in grad school and working full-time, which means we’re both spending nights on "work," which has been great because we can work on our own projects separately, but in the same space. It’s not a romantic date night, but it works!

Leave a Reply