Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Riding Solo

When I first lived alone, I actually Googled what the name of the phobia was for being alone.


I thought I had that for awhile there. My first time living alone was in the Bay Area - 15 miles south of San Francisco, to be exact. I had a 6-month internship in the Financial District, and since finding a suitable living situation in the city is about as likely as finding substance in a Steven Seagal movie, I opted (thanks to my oh-so-generous parents) to live in an apartment outside the city with a short-term lease.

It was thrilling those first few weeks of the internship - taking BART by myself, dressing up for my first professional job, oogling at the amazing sites of downtown, coming home to my own sanctuary. But then reality set in.

I was truly alone.

About two months into the internship, I stopped sleeping. I'd never had issues in the slumber department before, so this was odd. There were nights where I literally didn't get a wink of sleep. It made for some hellish days at work, that's for sure. It got so bad that I actually begged my dad to come rescue me. I thought him staying over would help, but I still couldn't get to bed. So Dad took me the four-hour trip home to Nevada to catch up on sleep and go see his doctor. I cried almost the entire way there and felt like I was having a nervous breakdown (a week without sleep will do that to you).

And what do you know? Before I even saw the doctor, I stayed the night at my parents' and slept like a baby.

The doc ended up giving me a low-dosage sleeping aid, which was a God send. It got me back on track and eventually I didn't need to take them anymore. I haven't had a problem since.

Looking back, I think the whole living alone - and truly alone because I didn't know a single soul in that town - was what caught up with me. I would look forward to every Friday because it meant the weekend was here. I'd get home, watch the one NetFlix movie I'd gotten in the mail and then pray that Monday would come faster so I'd have human interaction. My romantic relationship had fallen apart, and I no longer spoke with my best friend at that time. It was pure isolation, and it made me realize how severe a punishment solitary confinement must be. I was out of my mind.

Thankfully, my loneliness didn't last long when I moved to Sacramento almost 3 years ago. Now, I've made a life for myself here - I have family, great friends, a job I love and loads of hobbies. And I'm never truly alone, thanks to my cat Cammie. There are plenty of days where I feel lonely and isolated, wishing that someone - anyone - would talk to and acknowledge me. Some days sitting at home watching TV after going to the gym and running my errands is just plain ol' boring. But those moments eventually pass, and I feel happy again.

I bring this all up because I'm embarking on another solo mission next month - living alone once more. I did this a few months ago before moving in with Erica, and now that our lease is up, we're headed our separate ways. I have enjoyed living with Erica, more than I even expected. But I do look forward to having my own place again and keeping it just the way I like. And even though sometimes I feel isolated and sad, I know I'm never really alone, not for long anyway.

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