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July 12, 2008

Observations on Living Alone

I've been living on my own since June 18th. This is the longest I've lived alone in my entire life. Yes, that's right. I lived with, you know, my parents and brothers and sisters from birth until I moved out for college. Then I lived with my good friend Joe Kempista, then Joe and a whole plethora of friends (Chris, Christian, and Steve), then I got married and have been living with Darby ever since.

I've always wondered why people live alone. If I weren't married, I'd definitely live with a roommate. For one, I would want to split the rent and the utilities with people. But even aside from practical matters, I'm not too crazy about being all by myself. I like time to myself. But let me tell you, when you're living alone, there is way too much of that time.

1) Whole days can go by where I don't speak a word out loud.
When I'm really busy working all day on a project (like writing or editing or whatever), I can accidentally go a whole day without every leaving the house. Later in the day, I'll start to realize... my goodness, I haven't used my vocal cords at all today. Now this hasn't happened much, but it has happened. I actually don't feel like a loser when this happens, because...

2) I have been more social during this time then probably ever before.
Impromptu movie nights, last minute dinner parties, meeting people at the beach for the 4th, last minute trips to The Laugh Factory, parties with Jessica's dancer friends, regular meetings with friends, pick up basketball, watching plays with friends. When you have no one else in your life to consider and check with, you do a ton of unplanned things.

3) There is sooo much time in the day.
When you have one of those days where it's just going to be you, there are a ton of hours to fill up and you can get so much done.

4) It's easy to procrastinate
Because of all that time, it's important to force yourself to structure it or else you can... maybe.. oh I don't know, fill it up with playing video games and reading weblogs.

5) I stay up way too late.
When living with Darby and the kids, my normal schedule is go to bed by 1AM and wake up at 8AM. Since they've been gone, that has surely shifted until now I go to bed at 3AM and wake up at 11AM. Waking up at 11 is not good. By the time I've worked out and showered and caught up on emails and eaten breakfast, it's often 12.30 or 1.

6) Life is better with kids in it.
I love seeing things through Lyric and Ollie's eyes, and playing with them. I am a kid still, consciously holding onto much of what I was as a child (and probably unconsciously not growing up in places where I could stand to do so.) and so I miss so much having their pure, exuberant viewpoints on everything.

7) Beautiful things are much better when shared with others
I've gone on some amazing hikes here, but the times when I was all alone they felt a little more hollow because I wanted Lyric and Ollie and Darby to see these things I was seeing. However, spending time all alone like this in a beautiful place is a good thing at times because...

8) There is much more time to think and reflect about yourself and what you're doing.
Without being in constant relationships and having to think about what this person or that person is thinking at this time, you are freed to focus your attention on yourself some more. And you realize some things, figure some stuff out. When there is no one around but you, there is no one to blame but yourself for things you don't like. That's eye opening.

9) Growing a beard is a pretty cool thing to do.
It's worked out better than I imagined it would. I like it. Maybe it's primal or something, but I feel more... masculine with it. Tougher. Edgier. Like I could take someone out if they threatened me. (Don't worry, I'm still nice.) It's not going to be a permanent feature, but I will be dusting it off seasonally. I think it brings out the browns in my eyes, too.

10) I'm meant to live with Darby, Lyric and Ollie
I have no doubt about it. While a short amount of time away can be good, it's just not right to be apart from them. There is a hole in my life, a hollowness... and I can't wait to spend time with them again.

Posted by jason on July 12, 2008 02:59 AM


I think the Donut Man says it best:

Life without Darby is like a donut, like a donut, like a donut
Life without Darby is like a donut...There's a hole in the middle of your heart.

After all the lyrics you've quoted at me, I thought it was only fair to give you a taste of your own medicine...

But seriously, I know exactly what you mean about wanting to share the really beautiful things you experience with the special people in your life. It's just not the same to try to describe it.

Posted by: jessica on July 12, 2008 04:20 AM

I am alone a lot when John travels but it is not usually for more than a week. Occasionally, he is gone longer. Right now, he is in Germany. He left 07/06 and will not be back until 07/17. If I remember correctly, the first time he went to Germany he was gone for almost 2 months. That was hard. When my mom moved in with us after my stepfather died (2 years ago this coming October) that made it easier, but it is still not the same as having John home. She moved into her own place 07/08 and this is the first time in her entire life that she has lived alone. I think she is looking forward to it, but I am sure it will be difficult for her sometimes, too. We were good company for each other and we get along really well.

Posted by: Kathiek on July 12, 2008 01:46 PM

what a beautiful tribute to your family. they may have already known how you felt about them, but it's nice to see it semi poetically in writing like this, how much you realize that you appreciate having them in your life.

Posted by: Anonymous on July 13, 2008 01:21 AM

Jase--how's that east coast schedule coming along?

Posted by: jessica on July 13, 2008 02:32 PM

You now know the full glory of a beard.

Posted by: Ian on July 13, 2008 05:33 PM

got the blog now.
used, but still good.

Posted by: Anonymous on July 14, 2008 10:40 AM

I lived for almost 8 years alone, by myself, with no roommate or anything. It felt natural; I was almost never bored. What you say about not using your voice for a whole day rings true. This is probably why, before Merry, I used to make a lot of noises — beat box, whistling, humming, singing, what have you. But this annoyed her (aside from singing), so now I use my words. Though I enjoyed living alone, it is definitely better now than when I was alone.

Posted by: Mike on July 14, 2008 05:22 PM

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