I have always been afraid to be alone. If I wanted to nap, I found a boy to come over and take one with me. If I wanted to study, I had friends over. I even found someone to go to a 6AM Bootcamp class with me in college. We rode the campus bus in the dark together. When I was younger, people who enjoyed being alone scared me. They actually wanted to miss the big parties, the bar fights, the 2 hours of sleep before class. I didn’t get it.
I could always egg my quieter friends on to go out with me. I was really good at it. But, as it happens, we all got older and as time passed what made us different became more evident. Majors became careers, boyfriends became husbands or ex-boyfriends or even girlfriends. Everyone was making their own choices and now, they’re moving forward with their lives. Choice, after choice, decision after decision, they are shaping their lives. They’re being so goddamn adult.
I’ve been trying to shape mine too. I mean, shit, I even have this blog dedicated to figuring out how to be the writer I want to be. Getting my life together just seems like what I should be doing, since everyone else is doing it too. In the past year I’ve spent more time alone then I have in my entire life.
It’s been hard for me.
But it was also surprisingly easy.
All this time I thought it must be so hard to cut yourself off from everyone in your life and just work all the time. To hit the gym at 5:30 in the morning, or to write all night, or to take classes, or to even go see a movie alone. I was always a little bit jealous that so many people knew what they wanted and that they were willing to cut off other people to do exactly what THEY want.
But, it’s actually not that hard. Cutting yourself out of this world is easy. There’s cell phones and Netflix and Facebook and a million tools to make it easy to avoid your life. There was never any reaction to my turning down plans, staying in, working diligently. Everyone’s been ok with me just disappearing into the ether so that they can to disappear into theirs. That’s fine, I love goals. I think goals make the world go round. I love them but at what cost to my life? I’m not saying I need to be the party girl I once was, but it’s also not okay that I’ve been shutting myself up in my apartment all time staring into various screens.
Lives are moving forward and hard work is being done and that really is impressive. I know so many different people, with their different projects, just trying to get to where they want to be. I’m so proud of all of them, but I also want to shake the shit out of them and remind them of what’s important. I want to shake the shit out of myself too.
Maybe I can’t figure out what I want to do with my life because… Maybe I’m here to have a good time and to remind everyone else to have a good time. I’m like your Patron Saint of Having a Good Time. Work hard but also give yourself a break every once in awhile. Driving yourself into the ground will make you miss out on the good in life (love, sunsets, booping dogs’ noses). Also, tunnel vision doesn’t serve any dreamer or entrepreneur or even cubicle-worker. You’ll forget why you started, no matter what it is you’re doing.
As for me? I think it’s time to stop trying so hard and just work on what feels good. Write what I want, not what I think people want to read, and going to force my friends into having a good time again. I should write what I feel like writing and not what I planned into my agenda three days ago. It’s f***ing art, after all.
PS – This is not advocacy for YOLO. This advocacy for taking a deep breath and laughing once in awhile.