On Being Alone & Balancing My Time as an Introvert
I love being alone. I am a self-proclaimed introvert and, generally, time alone is something I always look forward to. I remember when I was younger, in my early teens, I would saviour weekend nights spent only with myself; I could stay up as late as I wanted to and do whatever I pleased with my time, which usually involved writing blog posts (on a blog that no longer exists), scrolling through Tumblr and reading. My time alone now is spent much in the same way, apart from that Instagram has replaced Tumblr (which is probably for the best because despite Instagram’s many issues, at least it isn’t trying to convince me that thigh gaps are cool.)
It seems then that time spent with myself is time to be creative. It’s also time to binge-watch my favourite Netflix shows, don’t get me wrong. But I definitely spend most of my alone time working on creative projects and if I do spend too much time with other people, I quickly develop an itch to be on my own, so I can re-charge and work on these things that I love and care about so much.
I find the ideas surrounding extroverts and introverts interesting and largely baffling. I often question how anyone could re-charge by spending time with others because it is so natural to me to restore my energy by being on my own. This isn’t necessarily because I relax in conventional ways when I’m on my own; most of my time spent doing ‘nothing’ (i.e. watching TV, chatting and generally chilling) is when I’m with my boyfriend and my friends and, as I just explained, most of my alone time is spent working, even if I am working on things I enjoy. It sounds kind of counterintuitive really: I relax when I’m with others but I re-charge when I’m on my own.
But I don’t think re-charging and relaxing are necessarily the same thing. It’s true that I feel exhausted after spending the entire day socialising or even just being around other people but collapsing into bed and binge-watching TV isn’t always the answer to that. More often than not, turning to my blog or other projects that I’m a part of feels like the ideal way to end my days. I think I crave this kind of ending to my day because I feel the most like myself when I’m doing something creative/something that I’m interested in. And I think that’s what this concept of ‘re-charging’ is all about- where it is that you feel most like yourself. Alone or with others? Watching TV or working? etc.
I don’t think there’s a right or wrong answer to the question of where you feel most yourself but I do think that my ways of re-charging can be problematic. Re-charging by working (even work that I enjoy) can definitely cause problems, namely me becoming completely over-worked (how many times can I say work in a sentence?) It’s pretty normal for me to leave my house at 9am and stay in university till 5pm, to come home, eat something and spend the rest of my night working on my blog with maybe an hour of Netflix when it gets to about 10pm. This isn’t me pushing myself because I feel like I have to, (I find it very frustrating when people force themselves to work more than they need to just to feel worthy), it’s because I want to, well when it comes to my blog anyway! I love my blog and I love working on it. It makes me feel good and if I didn’t do it in the evenings and on the weekend, I wouldn’t have time to do it at all.
But re-charging in this way certainly does blur some lines of what is work and what isn’t, and how far enforced relaxation (even if relaxing in the conventional way isn’t what I feel like doing) is necessary. Right now, it feels like this way of living works for me. But then again, I haven’t been to university in a week (it’s the Easter Break) and a couple of weeks ago when I had been enforcing this routine for 8 weeks straight and was feeling burnt out to say the least, I might have felt very differently.
I love being alone but maybe I don’t quite know how to yet in the ways that are best for me and my mental and physical health. I think as I grow older and learn more and more about myself (and I hopefully spend my days doing work that fulfils me creatively so I don’t have to spend my nights doing so), I’ll learn what is best for me though, and I hope Ii find a healthy balance between genuinely relaxing whilst also being able to re-charge, whatever that phrase really means.
Writing this post has made me realised that being alone is much more complicated than many people, including myself, like to think. Maybe I’m just thinking into it too much (I mean, I am an English Literature student so that’s a fair assumption) but considering much of my time is spent by myself, I think this is a worthy topic as any to spend my time thinking and writing about.
Let me know how you feel about being alone in the comments! Do you love it or hate it? Are you an introvert, an extrovert or somewhere in between? As you might be able to tell, I’m very interested in this topic so I’m keen to hear your thoughts!