I found myself alone last week.
I’m never alone. Um, unless I’m in the bathroom or something, I guess. But generally, my life is lived around other people at work and at home. Even when I’m alone, I’ve got people nearby.
I’ve never minded being by myself — I’m fine with eating or sitting alone or going somewhere on my own — but I’m never completely solo, at least for very long.
Here’s the thing: Eric and Johanna went on a school-related trip Tuesday, and I decided to stay home. It was a cool fieldtrip … funded mostly by parents. The parameters were a sure anxiety attack — and, as I pointed out to Eric, I can be anxious at home for free! Plus I didn’t know if I wanted to burn through my vacation days doing something I wouldn’t enjoy. Not to mention potentially stress out Johanna, who is very tuned in to my moods.
My worry over Johanna going out of state without me, however, was just as anxiety-ridden as tagging along would have been. My acupuncturist told me that instead of fretting, I needed to make it Trisha Week and plan things for myself that I normally wouldn’t do. “Maybe get a massage,” she suggested. “Maybe just hang out in coffee shops?” I countered.
She said perhaps I wasn’t quite grasping the concept of Trisha Week.
I did make a list of things I wanted to do with my time: Have dinner at a certain restaurant and pizza place, have a coffee date, binge watch a TV series (The Crown?), read late into the evening, lots of writing time, and lots of decluttering and cleaning.
Here’s what I actually did: Facetimed Eric and Jo, and then Abby, literally every night, went for pizza (which was a bad idea because I’m not supposed to eat wheat, gluten, or tomatoes … and it messed me up, yo), hit the next town over and bought a laptop, and realized that a house stays a lot cleaner a lot longer when there’s just one person and a few cats hanging around. I had a coffee date AND a walk date with a friend, had dinner at my parents’ house (my mother’s French fries are the best) and ate what could only be considered incomplete dinners most nights. (There’s nothing wrong with scrambled eggs or toasted cheese.) I managed to clean out my bathroom drawers and get caught up on laundry. My anxiety levels were good, then bad, then good again, then absolutely terrible (WHERE WERE MY PEOPLE?), and then it was time to pick up two of my three favs from the airport Sunday and it was all over.
I’m not really sure what to say about all of this except I need to work on time management or something because damn! That was not how this was supposed to go. Although I’m sort of wondering why I put “binge watch a series” on my list when I don’t even like TV or movies … well, except for Stranger Things. And 30 Rock. And The Office.
And also that even when I’m alone, I’m not alone. I don’t know, that’s actually kind of comforting.
But hey! At least I had some adventures to report on Friday when I saw my acupuncturist again. She had the grace to pretend that all my coffee stops were actually brave and daring.
Okay, okay: Yes, I finally got a laptop. A friend suggested a certain office supply store, and a very nice young man (who was probably in his 30s) helped me figure out what I wanted: Cute, light, with Word and the internet. Apparently he doesn’t make commission because he was very straightforward and patient and explained my options without trying to sway me at all. The super cute light one was more expensive than the heavier not quite as cute one … and it was a hard choice, but I decided to go cheaper rather than cute. Because it has a bigger screen and a 10-key. And it’s still pretty cute.
So I also spent a lot of time setting it up. I got both my work and home emails going, Word installed (well, Office) and then got to work uninstalling the bloatware. I didn’t even know that was a thing until I was talking to a co-worker and he was like, “Oh yeah, the bloatware is terrible on PCs,” and I was like, “Say what?” and he was all, “Those free trials and crap no one really wants.” Goodbye, Skype and DropBox! Nobody likes you!
It was more money than I’ve spent in a while — even if I did get a hell of a deal — but my work life is about to get way more awesome. I’ve named my laptop Freedom, which should give you a good idea of what this device means to me. I can write articles and format press release and public records logs just as easily from a coffee shop as I can in a cubicle. And I daresay the coffee shop will be a much better scene. I spent part of an afternoon loading templates and story notes, and was just giddy with the knowledge that I am now mobile.
Totally worth it.
Oh, and I’m being mindful of the programs I keep or load onto my new friend Freedom. Nobody likes you either, Facebook. I’ve got better stuff to do.