Being Alone is Good. Try It Sometime.
I've had a very quiet two weeks. As a freelance writer, I spend the majority of my time holed up in my apartment, typing. I wish I were a coffeeshop person; I'm not. The atmosphere in such establishments is lovely, if distracting. Whenever I go to one, I spend the first half hour settling in, the next checking out the people and the following trying to figure out if the people are checking me out, too. It's a very self-conscious experience.
This is why I usually work from home. Phone calls throughout the day give me necessary doses of human interaction, while making dinner with my husband or meeting up with friends fills my evenings. When everyone's schedules get wacky, though, it results in a lot of quiet time for me. Unlike most people, I spend my days mostly alone—and I like it. But, as others can attest, the problem with having a social set full of people who travel or do shift work is that they're often not free at the same times as you. And when it's your spouse/roommate/sidekick who's working weird hours, well, you suddenly find yourself with more free time than you know how to handle.
Cooking for one is not really my thing. I don't mind solo lunches but I grew up on real, hearty dinners and without one, I feel dissatisfied. For me, being the only person at the dinner table is depressing enough that I'd rather defrost something from the freezer and get the meal over with than amass a pile of dirty pots and pans for no reason. Now that I know the joy of cooking for another, making an elaborate meal with no one to share with feels like a waste of time.
So instead of cooking, I've been reading. And a lot. Back when I was commuting to work, I read for nearly two hours every day on the train. I whipped through books like never before and the practice of reading regularly made me faster. These days, I sneak in a chapter here or there while waiting for articles to be approved for publication, or on my lunch break. Evenings tend to be busy, and snuggling up with a book often gets pushed to the bottom of my "want to do" list.
These past two weeks, though, I've been on a reading binge. I cut my read it later queue in half (I use Pocket), actually worked through my RSS feeds every day (Feedly has taken the place of Google Reader) and flipped through every blog post on Bloglovin. In addition, I finally got to Gone Girl, which I've been meaning to read since Mariam reviewed it in January. (I liked it, even though it had the sort of ending I hate.) I also demolished The Great Gatsby for the first time since high school, obviously in anticipation of the glittery spectacle the movie is sure to be. (Note: I borrowed my sister Safiya's annotated copy. Nearly every mention of a color word was underlined. Isn't that interesting?) Last but not least, I started A Dual Inheritance by Joanna Hershon. I'm early in it and finding it a bit dense, but promising.
Starting next week, my schedule should go back to normal. Days will remain quiet but nights will regain and hopefully—weather permitting—surpass their usual hectic energy. Summer is coming.
I guess what I'm saying is...the last couple of weeks could have been lonely, but they weren't. Thank goodness for stories, and the people who tell them. Sometimes I think people will find me cheesy for saying things like that, but I want you to know I really, really mean it. I love stories and I hope you do too.
Featured image via @paper_plates_ on Instagram.