tonight is the first night in far too long that i can remember having absolutely nothing to do. no plans after work, no elaborate meals to cook, no spin classes to take, no freelance work to do. just me, myself and i and a stretch of four or so hours with which to do whatever i please. i’ve gotten in such a rhythm of busy busy go go go that i almost forget what to do with myself when i’ve got all the time in the world. it was an odd sensation, taking the train home at 6pm just like everyone else, crowding onto the L train and smushing myself into someone’s slightly sweaty armpit. it was weird to put my key in the lock and realize that for once, i’d beat my roommate home. i made myself dinner, and watched two episodes of my new favorite obsession, orphan black, before realizing that it was miraculously only 9pm, and i still had two delicious hours to kill, blogging or reading, or just plain laying in bed my hanging with my cat (as crazy cat ladies are wont to do).
it’s amazing what a night in will do for the soul, isn’t it? it’s funny. earlier today, i had a bit of an anxiety attack when i looked at my planner and realized i had no real plans for the week. WHAT AM I GOING TO DO WITH ALL THOSE EMPTY HOURS?! my brain screamed. and then i promptly made plans for the next 3 nights. and for what? don’t get me wrong, i’m excited to do all the things i plan to do this week, but really, did i need plans? what’s the worst thing that could have happened if i’d been plan-less? i would have sat at home all week watching tv, reading the goldfinch (this month’s book club pick) and baking chocolate chip cookies? those are all things i like, actually, love, to do. and yet, it’s like i have fomo for things that haven’t even happened yet. like i’m terrified that if i stay home for too many nights in a row, the world’s most exciting events will go on in my absence and i will miss them.
it’s rather pathetic, when i think about it. and also, sort of strange. see, if there’s one thing living in new york has taught me, it’s how to be alone. like, really alone. as in, perpetually single alone. okay, hopefully not perpetually single alone, at least not forever, but you get my jist.
before i moved here, i always rolled with a posse of friends. we went to the bathroom together. we went to the grocery store together. we ate dinner together, made cookies together, watched silly girly movies together. it was rare that i’d spend a few hours in solitude, let alone a whole day.
and yet, here i am, six years into my time in new york, and it’s not uncommon for me to spend a whole weekend by myself. i mean, i go out and interact with society, but i do the things i want to do on my own. i’ll go to bar method and walk around soho, try on shoes i don’t need at j.crew and peruse the wares at the farmer’s market all by my lonesome. often, it’s just me and my headphones, my crazy thoughts and my sometimes sane ones. and for the most part, i’ve grown to enjoy it. crave it, even. when you work in a career that requires you to be “on” and witty at all times, it’s nice to disconnect sometimes. stet that. it’s more than nice. it’s necessary.
so why did i get in a tizzy about the possibility of three straight nights with no plans? i mean, really, who am i? what are these miraculous events and opportunities i think i’m missing out on? and why do i need to compete with those whose lives are a bit more exciting than mine?
i don’t. that’s the reality. i don’t need to compete, not even a little bit. not even with my imaginary cooler, more exciting self. because it’s a ridiculous, petty, silly thing to do, and a losing game. and more importantly, because, as tonight reminded me, i like my alone time. and i need not apologize, not to anyone else, and most of all, not to myself, for taking it every once and a while.
so, here’s to all of us brave enough to tell fomo to fuck off. here’s to staying in and watching TV and eating stale twizzlers and listening to nick drake (what? that’s just me? no stale twizzlers for you? okay then). revel in your staying-in-ness, in your decision to skip the bars and the restaurants and the socializing for some good ol’ one on one time with your brain. it’s a good thing, i promise.