Good albums. Another novel. New recipes. Finding a getaway in town.
These are all the things that I discovered when I learned to spend some time by myself.
The world is loud. There’s constant noise and chatter everywhere we turn. We seek it out in almost all the actions we do. Scrolling through social media, pausing every now and again to watch the newest viral video. When we keep the keyboard sounds on on our phones, like everything orbits around the response. Even as I write this on my laptop. Headphones are plugged in, Featherstone by The Paper Kites is filling my ears, and I’m pounding out this article like a journalist cutting it close to a deadline.
I suddenly wonder- What are we rushing for? When did we get so scared of being alone with ourselves?
When I was younger, I had this fear that I was missing out. At times, that feeling can still sneak up on me. When I go seeking for plans, choices, who’s looking to go out, or deciding instead to stay home and watch old reruns of Law & Order: SVU. I feel so indecisive. Fearful of not being there instead of here, or here instead of there. So I open up Instagram, looking for posts from throughout the night. I follow snap-stories like they will fill me in. Phew, you’re less alone. But that shouldn’t be the case.
So I spent a weekend without checking in on social media. I deleted Snapchat from my phone. I called people if I needed to talk. I went out and looked at CD’s like I haven’t done since I was nine; when you had to put the CD in a track box located in the trunk of your mom’s car- subjecting everyone who road with you to listen to the new Grammy Hits of 2005. Outkast and Green Day fueling the drive. I discovered Arctic Monkeys that weekend. Still listening to their AM soundtrack when I drive around town. All those recipe clippings I had saved? The pages of Eating Well magazine that I had dogeared, and forgotten about? Those got taken out. The kitchen was alive again, and it smelled like baked sweet potato slices and homemade soup. I read Station Eleven, and got lost in a post-apocalyptic world, fighting to keep the ghosts of art and humanity alive. Traveling from town to town; remembering what was beautiful. Another great novel that sits on my windowsill- stacked between Catcher in the Rye and Sharp Objects, and right next to my jar of pens. I ran the trail that backs up to my apartment complex. No headphones. Just the crunching leaves on the ground, my heavy breathing, and the smell of cool air carrying the promise of spring. This is where I realized there’s a difference between being lonely, and spending some time with yourself.
In the span of one weekend; time moved slower. I won back my moments. I was in no rush. I had nowhere that I needed to be. I didn’t have any definitive plans. I did what I wanted. I woke up by the sun, and dreamed by the moon. I spent quality time doing the things I should have done long ago. I had real conversations with my roommates. I was genuinely interested in everything that was happening around me. I was fascinated by the real world. I wasn’t distracted by the world that fit in the palm of my hand. My sole focus was on the here and now.
So I urge you, spend some time with yourself. Everything will look brand new again.¶