Today is cold, gray, and wet. I bundled up in my navy raincoat, plaid scarf, and flowered Doc Martens I’ve had since college and I was still cold. The air was full of the dampness that goes straight to the bones. After two years in Southeast Asia, I’m not so good at damp or cold. That’s going to take some practice. Nothing like trial by fire, right? (Except in this case it’s trial by rain.)
Today is also lonely. I woke up knowing I would spend the day by myself, which is fine when that’s what I want to do. When I want to be around people, engage in meaningful conversation, and share myself with others I find it very difficult to be in own company. That’s the kind of feeling I had today when I woke up, which took me by surprise because I spent almost all of yesterday with a friend.
I fought the urge to cuddle back underneath the sheets when my alarm went off just to shorten the amount of time I’d have to spend alone. But I’ve been down this road before so I know better than that. I forced myself out of bed and outside for a quick, cold, wet run. Did yoga to return some heat to my joints. Left the house.
That’s key. Leave the house. It’s easy to get trapped in a cycle of rumination and distasteful self-pity when alone in my apartment. When I’m out, even when I’m out by myself, there are people to watch, conversations to overhear, places to go.
Made my way to the library to pick up George Orwell’s 1984. I’ve never read it and although I’m in the middle of two other books right now (What Kind of Creatures Are We? by Noam Chomsky and How Happy Became Homosexual by Howard Richler) today felt like a “curl up with a novel” sort of day. That’s something I’m always happy to do alone.
And by alone I mean in the company of strangers and a cup of coffee at B Cup Café in the East Village.
The music, atmosphere, and food options were good enough for me to order a second coffee and a breakfast wrap for lunch. Breakfast is delicious at all times of day.
That’s when I ran into the problem of what to do next. There’s only so much caffeine one can drink in a day. And I’m bad at sitting.
So I headed home. Stopped at the farmers’ market to pick up some things on the way. Put on Bon Iver’s new album (again). Thought about all the times over the past 12 months that I’d been lonely and told myself all that would end when I moved to New York.
Thought about how wrong I was.
On the bright side, I’ve had a lot of time to think. Time that I desperately needed. I don’t know whether I’m in a better place now than I was in August, but I do know that I’m in a different place. That’s definitely a step in the right direction, though I don’t know what direction that is.
Maybe this time alone will help me figure it out.