Not too long ago, the prospect that I would be spending a Friday night alone at home would make my skin crawl. I felt like I was missing out. I needed to be around others and I would often get frustrated with my friends for being busy or just wanting to be couch potatoes when I wanted to get out and GO.
Tonight, I’m sitting alone at home, writing these words. My dog has become fed up with me, sighing her dissaproval from the other room. I’m working on a glass of wine, relaxing, clearing my head, and getting my thoughts down. Letting the warmth of the glass of 13 Crimes spread out from my tummy. The house is quiet. I might put on some music. I might not. It’s a chilly autumn evening. I’m in my comfy cable knit sweater.
I have no problems with being alone right now.
I got my social interaction for the day by texting a few friends, visiting on the phone briefly, and chatting with my mom this morning over coffee. I got my sticker at Dutch Bros. The last one they had in Ft. Collins too. I chatted with a guy who works at a Vinyl store in Old Town. He told me about the time he met Tori Amos. I drove up Poudre canyon both ways and listened to music and felt the chill of the mountain air, totally out of cell reception. I even pulled off to the side of the road to have a nap near Rustic.
Tonight, the quiet is nice.
I no longer squirm at the prospect of needing to be around people and be a social butterfly. Sometimes it wears me out to do that. I have to be On. I have to be someone I’m not. Or at least I’m not them without a lot of ramping up to get there.
I’m boring. Yes, I am. You heard me. I wear my silly hats and go places and do things, but that is more like something I am doing for a job. Tonight I am boring. I am someone who would rather sit and listen to the rain patter on windows, or read a book, or pet the dog than I am the one who just a few years ago had to be swept away by the surge of a crowd.
Jeez, I’m so boring.
I really don’t mind. Not tonight. In the last several years, I have learned that I am someone who sometimes needs his downtime. I need to be alone to recharge and refocus. To chase away those knots in my stomach. The tension in my neck and shoulders. To step out of that wave of who I need to be for other people and just be myself and feel present in my own skin. And think the thoughts and sit in the quiet and just breathe.
I can’t expect most people to understand that. A life where we are constantly running or chasing or thinking and overthinking and hiding in plain sight and people-pleasing. Living behind these walls and projecting and dying a little bit inside all the time. Until we are just hollow. Until we can’t feel anything. And we hurt ourselves just a little bit, like in the song, to see if we still feel.
We eat the food but it’s just chewing. You’d think we had COVID because it doesn’t taste like anything. It tastes like a shadow of what it should be. You know what a steak tastes like, so you swallow each piece of “steak.” You know it’s good, so you say it’s good, but a piece of BBQ brisket could be a Chicken McNugget for all you care. Chew, choke it down, repeat.
But in this quiet. It’s something different. I feel how I am put together. Each breath I take in and exhale. I feel the weight of the air pressure. The gravity holding me to my chair. The way time passes. It feels incredible. I feel the joy and regret and memories and I hear echoes of old laughter and glimpses of happy moments. It’s better than the noise of a movie up on a screen.
Sometimes you are tired of running. Tired of chasing. Tired of dwelling on things. I feel like a bird that smacks into a picture window, just sorta standing there in the grass, dazed. In a minute I’ll get it all back together and fly off. Ready to smack into another picture window.
Tonight, I just am.