Growing up as an only child to a single parent has given me a lot of alone time in my life. Sure, a lot of people would ask me if I got lonely with that type of a household growing up. And yes, there are moments that I wished I had a sibling, wished I had more of a busy household, wished I had a better relationship with my family. However, now? Now, I crave that time. I desperately need it.
I seek it.
Having been spoiled with having those moments to myself, it's grown into a part of me. Sure, it's a bit selfish but without it, I'd go crazy. I need those five minutes, that hour, that afternoon just to be with myself. To not have to talk to anyone. To disappear. To do what I want, however I want it, when I want it.
Relationships have suffered when I don't get that chunk of time to dedicate to just myself.
Unfortunately this craving of space has never really been monitored or acknowledged. Being me, I've always known I needed it, but I didn't always check it or keep it balanced within my lifestyle.
Also, being me, I tend to want what I can't have.
Combine these two things and you generally end up with disaster.
You see, not only do I crave time to myself but like most human beings, I also crave having a wide array of friends and love spending time with these people. But life often gets in the way and schedules don't always click so there are times when I just end up taking a little too much on my plate. I get bored, I get lonely and I gather and promise and make plans I'll never keep just to feel like I'm doing something. The days of my week get filled up quickly and then all of a sudden I'm exhausted. I'm burnt. I have no idea why I agreed to any of this when after a long day of work I just want to curl up in my pjs and watch Top Chef.
I never really realized how much I end up doing those same things over and over again until the other night when I was settling in to watch one of my favourite television shows. I should preface this by saying that I generally do watch a lot of television and it can generally be divided into two categories: shows I watch and multi-task with and shows that I watch and will sit down and ONLY watch it.
Shows can flip flop between the two depending on my mood. Sometimes a show will be in the latter category but after a less than stellar season it can be switched to the former (Supernatural, I'm looking at you). Either way, the television shows that are the ones that I watch solely, without any distractions, are sometimes my favourite part of the week. I try not to admit it, but I do get awfully excited when a new episode of some of my television shows is sitting, waiting for me on the Tivo.
So cut to Sunday when after a busy-ish weekend I was managing to catch up on one of my favourite television shows but I just couldn't get into it. I was worried. Was the writing lacking? Did I not care about these characters anymore? Was it slowly slipping into the former category of television watching. It wasn't until over half way through the show when I realized that the reason I couldn't get fully invested in it, why I couldn't quite seem to enjoy it fully was that I kept pausing it every five minutes. (Thank you, Tivo). That's right, I was interrupting a beloved television show so that I could text, unknowingly getting sucked back into multi-tasking.
I will admit that I have a bit of a problem when it comes to texting. Even before I got my blackberry I was a bit of a textoholic and having a smart phone has only exacerbated the problem. So, while watching my show the other night I ended up pausing every few minutes, ripping myself from the storyline and the dialogue and the basic entertainment and might I add, purpose of the show itself, to text.
I can't help it. It's like a compulsion. I hear my phone vibrate, see it's flashing light that exclaims I have a new e-mail or a new text and I get excited. A little bit of adrenaline flashes through my brain and I just need to answer it. I want to answer it. And the sad part? If no one texts me, I end up reaching out. It's like I need to be connected at all times, update people on these real time events and instead of enjoy it for what it's worth, I end up spending most of my time updating other people who aren't there to enjoy it with me.
Yeah, it's a little pathetic. But it also seems to be our generation. We're constantly use to having these bursts of information. Facebook status updates, twitter, e-mails delivered to our phones, text messages, phone calls. It's so easy to get sucked into this and feed into this never ending need to be informed, be connected, be in the 'know'.
Now, don't worry. I'm not going to get all hippie on you. And it's not like this is really news to anyone. People have been claiming that our generation is developing a major case of ADD and being sucked into this vortex of technology where we only do things to be able to tweet about them later or to have the facebook pictures to prove you were there. No one has memories anymore, they have twitpics and status updates. They're too busy texting about the next thing that they can't just enjoy the moment they're in.
What I am doing--or want to do, however, is a bit of a challenge. I want to be able to disconnect completely from my phone--if only for an hour a day. I want to take that television show and be able to say, you know what? For that hour, you can't reach me. I'm not that important. Whatever you have to say to me will still be there in a half hour. In an hour. In two hours.
There's no life or death decisions that I'll ever have to make.
If this means disconnecting my battery and hiding it away, then so be it. I need to be able to set things aside and focus on myself. Focus on my happiness. Focus on the goals I've set for myself and understand that I don't need to be available 24/7. I know that if I stop over-saturating myself with my friend's lives that I'll appreciate that time we spend together even more. Hell, we may have more to say when we meet in person and maybe I'll make more time in my schedule to meet face to face. If we're always texting, why do I need to sit down and have a coffee anyways? We already know what's going on in each other's lives.
I'm back on my quest for finding my little piece of solitary in the city. I love my friends to death but you know what?
I'm away from my phone right now. Please leave a message and I'll get back to you as soon as possible. Thanks!