A few weeks ago, Matt dropped by my apartment and after chatting for a bit, our conversation turned to discussing various personality traits. He asked me whether I was more energized by spending time alone or spending time with others. Honestly, I can't remember what I answered that night. But last night, the answer to this question slapped me in the face.
In high school, I was fairly extroverted; I had a lot of friends, and I loved being with them. However, I also loved being alone. There's a creek about a quarter of a mile away from my house in Kansas, and I used to go there several times a week all by myself, just to think, or to sing, or to dance, or to sit and let the water play between the cracks in my toes. I was energized in those moments.
My freshman year of college, I was unfortunately deprived of any nearby creek, but I still found times and places to be alone, and despite the fun I had with my roommates, I cherished those quiet times of solitude: in bed looking out the window at the night sky, or running in the early morning before others had emerged from their houses.
Now it's my Sophomore year of college. Which, by the way is weird. But my thoughts on aging should probably be saved for another post. Anyway, this year has been significantly different than any other year of my life. I've been lucky enough to have had friends throughout the years, but this year, I've made more friends in less time than ever before. Naturally, when you become friends with a person, you want to hang out with them, and they (presumably) want to hang out with you. So over the past two semesters, I have honestly had very few nights when I was not doing something with someone else. Whether it be dinner, or watching a movie, or chatting, or playing the piano, or going out for hot chocolate, or going for a walk, or studying in the Writing Center until the library closed...I have spent nearly every evening engaging in some sort of activity with someone--almost never by myself.
Perhaps it's understandable, then, why last night felt so...odd. I returned home after class/work around 6:45 PM. Three of my roommates were home watching TV. I checked my phone: no text messages. No missed calls. I shrugged it off and started heating up some frozen vegetables to eat with my crusty bread and string cheese. When the microwave dinged, I gathered my food in my arms and plopped onto the couch to enjoy American Idol.I had my computer on my lap as well, although I don't really know why. I couldn't do homework and watch TV at the same time (I've tried this before and have failed miserably), and I had deactivated my facebook account the night before, so it's not like I was going to chat with anyone online. So I set my computer aside.
After American Idol finished, I checked my phone again. Still nothing. For some reason, I didn't feel comfortable with that. I began to fidget a little. My roommates started to watch some movie on TBS and with nothing better to do, I just continued to sit on the couch and watch with them.After fifteen minutes or so, I started to feel tired, so I reached for a quilt sitting by the couch, laid it over me, and slept for about an hour. I woke up at 9:30 PM, and realizing I had been asleep, I reached for my phone again and flipped it open. Nada.
This was weird.
Eventually, my roommates went to sleep, but I stayed up. I alternated between studying for my Nutrition test and playing Colbie Caillet songs on the guitar for a couple of hours. But I couldn't get rid of this sinking, self-pitiful feeling I had. I felt sluggish. I felt unfulfilled. Still, I wasn't ready for bed, so I looked on Old Navy's website and then read for a bit before finally deciding to hit the sack around 3:30 AM.
Then, just before I closed my eyes, it hit me: I had had no energy tonight. For once, I had an opportunity to spend time with myself, alone, to catch up on homework, or to think, or to revel in solitude. Instead, I was disgusted by the solitude. I had longed for the companionship I've become so accustomed to. I had been alone, finally, for once, but I had not liked it. And this realization did not make me happy.