I can’t remember the last time I spent an entire day alone. It seems everyday after work, I have to make sure I go to a salsa party to be with my friends. If not, I’ll go see them for shisha or dinner for the same reason. I like the feeling of being part of a group or being in someone’s company.
As anyone who moves to another country knows, one of the immediate side effects, apart from the change in time zone, is that eagerness to belong–I try to fill in the gaps caused by forced separation from family and friends I left behind at home.
So, the natural reaction is to drive myself to the core just to have even a slice of that sense of belongingness.
I try to squeeze out time to meet new people, or to know the people I know much deeper.
I will drop out plans to go to the gym or write something, or have a well-earned sleep if a 10% chance to spend time with people I consider friends is knocking at my front door.
Who cares about sleeping? It’s just a fancy way to waste time. I have an eternity to sleep when I die. I’d rather smoke shisha at Hussein with my long-time friends until sunrise (which, by the way, I did last night) than spend a full eight hours dreaming.
I will drag my sore bottom out of bed at 7am if that’s the only time I could get to see friends I haven’t seen in months because of their insane work shift schedule (given that it’s my day off of work.)
I think my point is that I live on people’s company. Everyday, I hunger for social interaction. I thirst for those delicious 1000 megawatt laughters exchanged between sips of coffee and meaningful conversations. To me, this is the way to fill in the void.
But today is a day unlike everyday. I woke up, a little after two in the afternoon, with an empty stomach and a much emptier appetite for social action. There is no drive to ask friends out, no effort to see anyone, no energy to even answer the phone. No desire to belong.
I just wanted some quiet time–a time to catch up not with anyone but myself. I might have been too busy caring too much about everyone else’s lives and business that I forget to care about myself.
I wanted a day where I don’t have to go where my friends want to go. A day where I don’t need to wait around until they pick me up. A day where I don’t have to bend my schedule. A day where every music playing in the background is from my playlist and not anyone else’s.
I’m calling today as my official back-to-basic day–simple, quiet, solitary (which is ironic considering I am sitting in an American chain where all the tables are crowded with groups of friends and families who are all smiling, talking, and laughing in HD.)
And that is perfectly fine. As long as I have my coke float refill, the salad buffet, a pen and loose sheets of paper, I’ll be OK.
After all, I am already with the best company I can ever find.