I think I’m beginning to find a sense of balance in my life. Ever since moving into the new place and settling down, I’ve found that I’ve appropriately managed my time between work, my personal well-being, and my social life. When you’re on your own and living by yourself, you don’t have to worry about cleaning after yourself or roommates and can easily ignore a call or text from a friend or family member. You can sit in absolute silence, blast Broken Social Scene on your speakers, or constantly watch The Simpsons without any concern that your preferences or actions or words have any consequence to someone else. The space (both physical space and personal space) is entirely yours, and your use of your time is unrestricted. You can eat when you want to eat, wash the dishes whenever (but it also helps to have a dishwasher), and you can clean whenever you damn well please — midnight, a few minutes after dinner, only on weekends, never? Anytime! It’s up to me!
After the move, I’ve found myself working on my personal projects a lot more — writing in this blog, for instance, or improving my photography skills. Sure, I’m living a solitary life of routine by going to work, coming home, sleeping and then going back to work, but I’ve managed to squeeze in a few hours each day devoted to a creative project: cook something new, storyboard a short video, read a book. As one of those fucking creative types, when you’re alone and there’s no one to talk to (yes, there’s my dog, but she doesn’t speak English), you find yourself focusing on an activity. You’re not distracted by anything or anyone, and on my endless quest for self-improvement, I always want to make something new. This time, however, I can do it anywhere or at anytime; I have a large enough space in my new apartment to set up a photo shoot. I don’t have to worry about interrupting a tennis game on TV while I record a video. I can smoke up the entire apartment with bacon — freedom like that.
Believe me, I enjoy the company of roommates — especially my last ones with Brian and Morgan — but if there’s one thing I cherish more, it’s me-time. It’s being alone. It’s that moment of selfishness of being who you are — all your follies, eccentricities, talents, and desires — out in the open without worry or hesitation. I lived my entire life under the expectations of other people, but as a functioning, independent adult with a sense of creativity I need that me-time.
I remember my senior year of undergrad, where I was finally living by myself in Urbana-Champaign. I solely concentrated on my studies, and I managed to return onto the Dean’s List after my grades faltered my sophomore year. I pulled myself out of the dark place I was at — even when I was constantly surrounded by friends and family — and graduated with honors all by myself. No distractions, no drinking at weird house parties, no family member nagging me.
Now, at 34, I got a good job, a good dog, and a desire to produce visuals. Yes, I’m alone now, but I finally think I’m happy with the direction of my life is heading towards. It feels balanced.