I’ve lived in the same apartment for the past two years now. Since I moved out of the dorms freshman year, I’ve lived on my own. As in, I don’t just have a single bedroom—I don’t even have apartment mates.
Okay, I do have housemates, but they’re a bit different. I didn’t choose them in my living arrangements. We all happen to live within the same building, but don’t generally cross each other’s paths unless we’re all en route to the communal kitchen. But I don’t consider that “living with” them since I don’t have to coordinate who does the dishes or who cleans the bathroom—we all have our own private spaces and simply clean up after ourselves in the public space.
Anyhow, tangent over.
The first few months of sophomore year and living on my own were fairly rough. I was, at the time, friends with a grand total of one person, each, in two of my three classes; and some days after class, I would return home to my apartment without having had any proper interaction with a friend.
Needless to say, it was not fun. I’d always grown up living with people. First it was my brother who was always in the room next door, then my mom had our after-school-dates once my brother moved out to college, and after that I moved into the dorms with two roommates and an entire floor of rambunctious people.
Going from these places of companionship and company to complete silence was difficult, and I didn’t handle it quite well. It took some time, but I finally figured out a new routine for myself where I spent the evenings at my then-friend-now-partner’s place to do homework on his living room couches.
Needless to say, I’ve spent very little time properly alone since then.
In that light, this past week was sort of a novelty. Because of all my friends’ staggered return-to-Berkeley dates – my partner included – I found myself genuinely alone for the first time in years.
While I didn’t quite enjoy my solitude the first time around, I found myself almost reveling in it this week for one very important reason:
I kept myself busy doing things for myself.
I don’t just mean busy, as in occupied for most hours of the day and spending all the others in between browsing the internet. No, I mean like, back-to-back-to-back scheduled days where I found myself that many things to do. Sitting down at my computer and pulling up Facebook literally didn’t happen until 5:30PM—when I finally got home from work, finished my errands, went to the gym, or even took a half hour walk around the city because I could.
Some people might call me insane for finding that many things to do, but I enjoy it. I love feeling the accomplishment when I check off the things I’d written down in my agenda at the end of every day, and I love doing everything because they’re things that I choose to do for myself.
Was I tired? Yes. Did I fall asleep within minutes every night? Yes. Was I happy? Yes.
And how did this all make me feel like a queen, you ask?
Because, to put it bluntly, I could basically put myself in the center of my own world since no one else was around to be hurt by it. To put it nicely, I was able to take care of myself, wherever and whenever, all the time and any time I needed to.
Having the ability and freedom to do that for myself for an entire week was something I had no clue that I’d wanted or needed until I actually got it.
That’s not to say I want to be alone (Don’t abandon me friends, before you even come back to Berkeley.) all the time.
I would, however, vouch for everyone to take some time to themselves. Whether it’s a day, two days, three days, a week—I think it’s important for everyone to have the opportunity to take care of themselves on their own time and their own terms and figure out what makes them the happiest.
So you do you. Go treat yo’self.