For the past three week’s I’ve been living alone for the first time ever. Growing up, I was surrounded by family at home and friends at school. In college, alone time was rare, and frankly I didn’t seek it out. Between roommates and lovers, the apartment was rarely empty. And upon graduation, I moved in with my domestic partner. We’ve been living together ever since.
A month ago, I found out I’d be alone for three weeks as my partner traveled for work. I didn’t think much of it. I’d be at work during the day, and fill my evenings up with friends, reading, writing, anime binging etc. But that wasn’t the reality.
I found myself feeling bored and lonely, two emotions that I’m not used to. Boredom is easy to cure in the short term: just crack a good book, go for a bike ride. But by the end of the second week, I was spending far too much time lying on the floor of my apartment with my cat asleep on my chest, doing nothing.
Loneliness was the real trial. I have been exceedingly lucky in life to never experience strong loneliness, but as I progress deeper into adulthood, I’ve awoken to why it’s been such a pervasive theme in the human experience. No longer are my friends available on cue, no longer is my sister in her bedroom down the hall. Perhaps older adults erase that loneliness with families of their own, but I doubt it goes away completely.
Full disclosure: I’m a nerdy, awkward white guy. And when I dance, I do the dice roll and moves that vaguely resemble those practiced in the squarest 50s hootenannies. Over the last three weeks, I danced constantly.
You know those videos “History of Dance” (or something like that)? Seriously, get me on camera. I was busting out the Jacko spin, the Swabbage Patch, the Running Man, the Lasso (to my cat, of course) and the disco point. I’m used to dancing in crowds, and using crowd-dance moves, so my solo-party was a revelation. The ground you can cover with one sliiiide!
Are you feeling bored, tired, lonely, out of it? Try my prescription: One dose modern disco (ingredients: diva vocals, piano stabs, Nile Rodgers), one empty living space, and complete inhibition.
Push that grocery cart, dig that hole, thrust to the left, thrust to the right! Our society pays exorbitant fees for gyms and classes and seminars to achieve a sense of health and belonging, all well and good.
But all we really need is some time alone to dance.