I was inspired to write this post after re-reading my interview with S from last week. It intrigued me when S explained how much she loved to be alone. I couldn’t relate at all and started to feel a bit strange about that.
I know many of my girlfriends relish their time alone. And don’t get me started on men. Yes, this is a gross generalization but tell me it’s not true?!?! Men LOVE their alone time. Video games, movies, browsing the internet, playing on their phone, doing NOTHING. They are a special breed. The Mother marvels at how The Father can sit in his chair for so many hours at a time doing so little. The Scottish has told me (based on the years he was a bachelor and had enough PTO to take off almost a month at Christmas) he doesn’t get sick of doing nothing until after about two weeks. TWO WEEKS?!?!? Shocking. I get antsy after two hours. But he also comes from a culture that moves a bit slower. We Americans are constantly on the go, and I was raised thinking that being busy meant being happy.
I’m also a people person. I prefer face to face time with friends and I could talk to any of my girlfriends for hours on end. But I don’t really have any close friends here in Kansas and the chatting on the phone or on Skype only works once in a while. The friends we have here are co-workers of The Scottish, who have families of their own and not a lot of free time.
Plus, we have one vehicle. We LOVE being a one car couple but it does not come without its sacrifices. Since I wasn’t going to be employed while living here, we knew we could make it work. And I do get the car some days for errands while The Scottish gets a ride with his friend, but more often than not I’m stuck in the house. The cold weather has made that even tougher on me because walking long distances is not an option anymore.
Consequently, due to all the things I’ve just listed, I spend a lot of time alone in our apartment. This is extremely difficult for me some days. I used to be a nanny so I was around kids all day and the flurry of activity that goes along with that, and I had tons of amazing friends to visit in Chicago that kept my social life alive and fulfilling. Here in Kansas, the days are long. And even though he’s my favorite person, some days a girl just needs to chat with someone besides her husband.
When we first moved here, I looked at my free time as a gift and I went project crazy. I unpacked and organized our new home, birthed Drama Happens, revised a full-length novel written by my brother, organized and scanned old photos, made two wedding albums, and researched dog adoption (not to mention the normal cooking, cleaning, and errand running that goes along with normal life) all in the first few weeks. Then I decided I could relax a bit and catch up on some TV shows I’d been wanting to see. Then we adopted McKenna and that filled my time. Then I got to celebrate my 30th birthday with some amazing people. Then I went on a trip home to see family. Then I started a novel. Then it was time to celebrate the holidays. Then it was time to pack up our house. But no matter what I did, there were still hours left in the day to fill with just me.
Being alone makes me uncomfortable after a while. Even though McKenna is the one who attacks The Scottish upon his arrival home, I feel like doing the same thing! YAY, you’re back, I have so much to say, so many connection needs to be met!
For some types of people, being alone fuels and recharges them. For me, it creates a lethargic and depressive mood. It makes me feel like I’m drowning in silence and I find it energy-sucking. I crave conversation and relationships, hello, this is a relationship blog after all. 🙂
When you’re alone a lot, you get to see your faults magnified because you are your sole companion. This is why people go on retreats when they’re really stressed out or beach vacations when they feel over-worked. You get this great opportunity to reinvent yourself because you have so much time to think. Suddenly, your life goals are clear and laid-out in front of you like a yellow brick road to follow. You know exactly what you want and how you will get it. You build trust in your own ideas and dreams and you feed your own inspiration because there’s no one else to feed it for you.
Today is our last day in Kansas, we leave tomorrow for the Twin Cities and our new life. I’m going to be living around family and friends again. I’m going to be busy and our lives are going to change in more than one way. And I’m absolutely thrilled about it. But as I leave, I’m trying to savor these last moments of solitude because they may never come again in this way (or at least not for a long time).
I owe this clarity to my time in Kansas because now I am so damn excited for my life. I’m happy with my family choices and my career choices and my life choices. I’m happy with the direction I’m facing and I’m ready for the next challenge.
And the relationship I have with myself has been strengthened. After spending so much time with my emotional, dramatic, artistic self these past few months, I’ve discovered I’m still pretty awesome. (Vain, but awesome.) There have been some times in my life where I haven’t trusted or even liked myself but the older I get the more I really, truly, love myself. And that’s a real gift.
Do you enjoy being alone or are you more like me? What have you taken away from spending time with yourself?