Alone and Not as Lonely as I Expected

Alone. Completely and utterly alone. That’s where I’m at right now.

S. and I share a “quitinete” which is the equivalent of a studio (with no oven but with a balcony), half a wall separating the kitchen from the bedroom, and two twin beds side by side (close enough that sometimes I wake up with S.’s leg on my bed).

There is NO ONE in the world that I can imagine being able to share the small space with aside from S. I continuously remind myself how lucky I am to have her in my life. She shares her cooking skills as well as a constant listening ear for all of my verbal processing.

With that being said, there have been a few times over the course of this year where my roommate has been traveling or staying elsewhere and I have found myself alone. Sometimes for a weekend, sometimes for a week, sometimes for a little bit longer. At first I thought this meant that I would have some personal recharge time to myself…and I do…maybe too much.

Growing up, my parents never went on trips, there is not a single day that I can remember sleeping in the house alone and I shared a room with my sister. In college occasionally my roommates would go home for a weekend, in graduate school I believe there was one night when the heat was out and the house reached 50°F and I was the only one that slept there that night. In summary, I have never been alone for extended period of times…or more than a night or two.

 

Here is what I learned while I’ve had some quality Aletha time:

  • I am definitely an extrovert.
    • While living in community and during my first couple years as an elementary teacher, I dreamed of alone time off my feet and reading. I think that was necessary then, because I gave all of my energy to those around me. Here I was thinking that I was actually an extroverted introvert.
    • I may need my alone time to recharge after a day of teaching, but ultimately my energy comes from others. An introverted extrovert of sorts, I enjoy nights in with friends, but when left completely alone, I read way too many books and walk around in a fog.
  • I am more likely to explore social options.
    • Because I am in extrovert, after about a day or two of alone time, I crave social interaction. Where I may normal turn down a night at an anthropology speech or a journey to a downtown dancehall in exchange for a quiet night in with my roomies (or home alone while the roommates go out), I find myself finding ways to get out of the house and try anything.
    • This is only the case after a couple of days though, because without a car it is far more expensive to go out downtown with no one to split your Uber.
  • I call home more.
    • Contacting friends and family always makes me feel a tad bit guilty when I’m around other people, therefore in the US it almost always happened while I was at the grocery store. I’d half call mom for a recipe and then I’d spend my time shopping and catching up. Abroad, it means a couple times a month over Video chat.
    • With no one here, not only do I want to talk with someone, but I also have zero inner-conflict about splitting my attention from my physical reality and my family hours away.
  • It’s a great way to challenge myself.
    • The first time I was home alone for a week, I went crazy. The first two days were great, but then I grew restless and lonely. I started reading all the time (not incredibly different than usual, but a little more extreme), I started blogging, and I had to make sure I ate because I often forget that when other people aren’t involved in the meal.
    • This time, I’m much more content. I’ve gotten some much needed work and job applications near completed, I’ve taken the bus more, and I’ve challenged myself to spend time with others more. The time has passed quickly and although I still struggle to remind myself to eat, it has been much more successful and life-giving.
  • I genuinely enjoy living with people that I enjoy.
    • I love alone time and this week has been great, but I can’t wait until S. is back and we can discuss all of life’s happenings for our last two months together!
  • If my destiny is to be a “crazy [dog] lady”, I’m going to need to join some clubs!
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