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Ever feel alone in a crowded room? As cliché as this is, I know the feeling. I remember many times, being out at a party or a bar and reaching my limit. Everything becomes white noise and my only desire is to head back to wherever I lived at the time to get away. I used to use the “Irish Exit” excuse and that worked well. Fortunately, as we get older, people don’t want to rage into the wee hours like we once used to so there is no longer a need to “explain.”
Being around people is exhausting. I’m lucky that everyone I work with are good people who are fun to be around but every day, I look forward to quitting time to kick off my clothing and do nothing. At this point, I can’t even watch Office Space because I’ll fantasize about doing whatever I want and honestly, I can’t imagine what life is like for those of us with terrible coworkers and shitty bosses.
In talking about these feelings to others, I’ve had people tell me or show me articles about being an “extroverted introvert.” I’m fairly outgoing so when people who know me know I like to head back at what appears to be random, some Facebook article must have clicked and they are quick to label. I hate putting labels on things. Like people that believe in astrology, if you make it vague enough, any idiot will be like, “Hey, that’s totally me!” By the way, if you’re dumb enough to believe in astrology, I’ll let Bill Nye ruin this for you. There’s no need to put labels on yourself, which is why I don’t subscribe to the bullshit every Buzzfeed and Facebook quiz seems to want to do.
As I get older, I spend a lot more time by myself and quite honestly, it’s great. We spent most of our formative years in highly structured environments. Think about it: K-12 was a learning prison: the bell rang, you went where you had to. If you didn’t, you’d get in trouble. College was a bit more freedom, but if one didn’t do their shit, they would fail out and be crippled with student loans AND a lifetime sentence to work retail if they didn’t figure something better. After a brief pimp slap from adulthood, alone time forces people just like you and I to come to grips with what it’s like to be an individual. While brotherhoods, sisterhoods, friends, and family all have shaped our very being, it is time to put all that team building, structured bullshit hoops and ladders we jumped through to the test. In video game terms, you just got done with the tutorial and now it’s time to go slay some dragons.
Everyone has their thing when they are alone. As someone who can’t sit long enough to watch most TV, I’ll play video games. Sometimes I’ll whip out the bass and play a few tunes or write something. I’m not sure why, but it’s cathartic. Some of my most favorite times are rainy days spent reading in bed, something I haven’t done in a long time. Even having a few minutes on the shitter to myself to fuck around on my phone is a welcome break up in the day.
One day, I hope America adopts a more European style of living. We live in a society that has never been more productive, yet we live an antiquated 40-hour work week. My friends in Europe are always traveling, blessed with about a month of PTO a year. Americans are vastly overworked compared to other First World nations. With more time off, the time that we do have off wouldn’t feel so rushed and we could prioritize spending more time enjoying others company, rather than feel the need to balance our time off between recharging and seeing our friends and family.
Like every other person, I greatly value my alone time. No one wants to be around people all the time. Anyone that doesn’t is an absolute liar. Striking a balance between spending time with those we care about and mentally preparing to once more unto the breach is a job in itself. Really, the only thing anyone can do is keep truckin’, dear friends. .