Friday, April 26, 2013

People Who Need People ... Just Not All The Time

Last Sunday I went to see an Opera all by myself.

Well, in actuality, it wasn’t all by myself. The theatre was packed with Opera-Goers. But the seat next to me was empty. I did try to find someone to go along. No, I didn’t buy two tickets to have one go unused. I’m not wasteful like that. It just kinda worked out that way. And, to tell you the truth, I didn’t mind.

I spend a lot of time with people. I like people. I have some wonderful friends to talk to and share time with. I’ve met some lovely people thru theatre and my kids’ schools or activities. My family is a good time. The kids always have a lot to share – especially my daughter, now SHE can talk. I work in an office and coordinate networking events – gotta talk at those. I also manage large-scale events and need to discuss various aspects about them with my co-workers. In addition, we occasionally go to lunch and chat or visit by the coffee-maker. Since Communications was recently added to my title, I have stuff to write, discuss or share with the various members and visitors who stop by our office, too.

I talk on the phone with my mom and dad regularly – as well as friends near and far. I keep up via email and actual real letters. Oh, I also check Facebook to see what others are up to and connect there. I have special friends that I get together with more often who I especially enjoy. I rehearse with people and go out for drinks after rehearsals. I text a little. I reach out to the people I care about regularly.

Pretty clear … I like people and I like to talk/share with them. I like to have quirky conversations and discuss anything and everything.

But, there are times when I’ve had enough of them. Nothing personal. They didn’t offend, upset or annoy me. But sometimes when I’m really busy or have a lot happening at work or socially, I get tired of talking. Tired of listening. Tired of paying attention. Too many meetings and discussions and I long for the sound of silence.

At these times, I have a Charlie Brown moment. Oh come on … you know what I mean. Someone starts talking … I see their mouth moving … but all I hear is blah blah blah blah blah. You know … that Charlie Brown monotone sound that means absolutely nothing to my brain. It’s gibberish. When that happens, I know it’s time for a solo act.

It’s at these times that I go off on my own … either physically or simply by removing myself from the conversation. I check out. I nod and smile, but I can’t process anymore words or handle anymore communication. I’m exhausted and done. I need time without any required interaction. Time away and on my own.

So last Sunday, I went to the Opera alone. I go to the movies alone too. And, I have been known to sit in a restaurant, coffee shop or at the Bar alone. Sometimes I chat with the people around me or the bar-staff. Sometimes I just watch the TV or read a book or type blogs on my computer or people watch or review my lines or write or just drink in blessed, beautiful silence.

I like to be in the house alone. I enjoy those nights after I put the kids to bed when it’s quiet and I am completely on my own. I use this time as the mood strikes. To read. To watch what I want on TV. To write. To knit. To do whatever I want and not have to talk or listen or put any other energy out there.  It refreshes me. Re-energizes me to eventually get back out there. To me, it’s kind of like plugging in your Smart Phone after a day of busy usage. It needs time to recharge and get going again. To be able to receive all those emails and texts and calls, it needs a little down time with the power cord. And silence around me with no interaction is a key power-source for me. It revitalizes me.

My kids have their own rooms. I don’t have my own room anymore, though I’ve kinda staked out the SunRoom as “my room.” That room has no TV so it is quiet with limited stimulation. It has books, lots of paper, my Paris boxes, knitting and writing projects along with my desk -- where I keep my computer, pictures, special gifts and a memory box filled with items that make me happy when I touch or read them.

I go to this room for its quiet and peace and its ability to give me an emotional sedative. I go here when I don’t want to talk. I go here to write in my journal or read my book and to separate myself for a little while. And I share it when I’m ready to reach out once again.

So when I go to the Opera alone, I’m not trying to be anti-social. If you see me at Starbucks staring out the window with a coffee in my hand, I’m probably not lonely. And when I sit in a movie theatre with my own popcorn and soda, don’t feel sorry for me and think I was ditched by my friend. I just choose to be alone sometimes. I need to be alone sometimes.

If I wasn’t alone, I couldn’t write this blog … could I?

Yes ... there are times when I’m all by myself … and very okay with that….

                                                                                                                                                     -- Jenni