Ball of Energy at Rest
Last year in August, I took my first trip alone ever. I stayed two nights and three days in the “Majestic Room” at Uxbridge Manor and Spa, a charming and friendly breakfast and bed with two medium-sized ponds on the large property around which several families of ducks and an impressive pair of exotic birds with shiny feathers lived – along with two cute puppies! I drove to Uxbridge with my partner since I was still a novice driver and this would have been the farthest distance I’ve traveled.
My room was furnished with a king-sized bed and a large flat-screen television mounted on the wall. An electric fireplace warmed me while crackling quietly at night. After instilling enough envy in my partner over my gorgeous room and after an afternoon out in the adorable downtown core of Uxbridge, I drove him to the nearest Go station so he could go home.
Each morning, I ate delicious breakfast – thick, fluffy waffles topped with berries and whipped cream on the first morning and scones served with five different fruit jams the next paired with yogurt parfait and coffee. Each night, I made a deliberate effort to enjoy a warm bubble bath in the sunken Roman tub in my en-suite bathroom. What a perfect way to start and end days in the small, quaint town surrounded by breathtaking nature.
On the second evening, I enjoyed a half hour massage from the manor’s owner and masseuse; I felt so relaxed! On my last day, I endeavored to sit on every bench available on the property while reading a book. There were too many comfortable, shaded seats around the place for me to sit on!
I had a great time. But before the breakfasts and spa massage and bubble baths, I was crying on my drive back to Uxbridge from the Go station where I dropped off my partner. Not because I missed him or because I was upset over anything in particular, but because I was scared to be alone.
Crying Not Out of Happiness About Something Good.
Like most, if not all people in the world (minus Kanye), I have insecurities. But I don’t have any issues that would cause me to dislike myself. But to have to entertain myself for two nights and two days? To be left alone with my thoughts for a whole weekend? I’m a naturally reflective person – especially when aided by rainy car rides or bus windows – but I panicked because though I prefer quiet and doing my own thing, I’ve done so with the knowledge that those few hours of productivity would only be a getaway from the usual fast-paced rush of other parts of my life rather than the calm being the norm for days.
It feels silly to have panicked about my aloneness. But because I haven’t made a habit of being alone, I can imagine feeling the same panic taking over if I were to take another solo trip.
That brings me to a sort of-resolution-but-not-really that I’m trying to implement: be at peace by myself more.
Doing Things Alone.
- It took me until after university to be able to eat by myself in the mall food court without feeling self-conscious.
- I couldn’t go to the gym without feeling everyone’s (imagined) judgmental eyes following me. I had to go to the gym with my friend or not go at all.
- I take no enjoyment from taking walks along a trail or in the park if I don’t have someone to walk with.
Self-conscious and paranoid. Again, I’m not unhappy with myself. But I never learned to keep the insecurities and anxieties at bay. They became quirks and ulterior motives for keeping friends and family around any time I wanted to do any of the above.
Two States of Being.
When I’m by myself for long stretches of time, I survive by powering through 2 part-time jobs while going to school full-time and volunteering at 2 organizations, or by immersing myself in some form of entertainment outside of myself – be it a television series or a book.
I have two states of being: productive or distracted.
Now reflections happen when I cannot sleep at night, or when I’m in the passenger seat on a long car ride.
Reflecting on myself, relaxing, and purposefully doing “nothing” is almost unheard of by my person, that I physically get upset (hence the crying while driving to Uxbridge) when I force myself to do it.
But it is important to be at peace with oneself, I know.
I’ve always been known as a ball of energy. Be it in school, work, or in my personal circle, I’m either busy being productive or my limbs are busy flailing frantically for fun.
I want to rest.
I’ve given myself a few steps to achieve this “peaceful resting” state.
- I delay volunteer/freelance job/part-time job searches until the weekend. I’m focusing my energy on two things at a time. Right now, I’m focused on work and my college courses. “I will not overload myself” is my mantra. For someone who’s always on the hunt for something and anything and everything, this is really difficult.
- I envy my partner who enjoys going on walks by himself, experiencing nature, and capturing awesome photographs from his trips. I’m forcing myself to take the time out of every week to explore our new neighbourhood and capture glimpses of Mother Earth in her unpolished and raw state.
- Besides tonight as I drum away on my keyboard to finish this blog post, I’m staying away from my mobile phone and my laptop an hour before my self-imposed bedtime. (This also helps your REM sleep, so take note!)
- I go to the local YMCA in the mornings on weekdays. Most other gym-goers are middle-aged to seniors, lessening the likelihood of me comparing myself to them as they would obviously be at a different stage physically.
Once, I read one of those “successful people do this” postz, and an advise given was: “Do the hardest thing first in the morning and get it out of the way.” Regular work-outs are a hard thing for me, and this is a great way to scratch it off my list of to-do’s.
Working out by myself is also a good way to clear my head and plot my activities for the day.
- I take five minutes to sit and shut up, and try to meditate.
- I drink less coffee now and eat more fruits. Fewer coffee mugs means I don’t rely on caffeine-induced bursts of energy, while a more proper diet helps distribute my energy throughout the day. (I think.)
Resting is Hard.
It’s one thing to feel lazy. It’s another to purposefully plot out hours to relax and do nothing. When I’m lazy and have nothing to do, I get impatient and bored. When I’m trying to do “nothing”, I’m still trying to do something (which is to do “nothing”).
But I know I have to force these activities into my agenda until they become habitual. Otherwise, I’ll burn myself out and run out of steam by the time I hit age 27.
To experience the present is something I feel I traded long ago with planning my future. I’m trying desperately to retrieve that ability. Reconnecting with myself on a more peaceful, meditative level feels like the first step to achieving that.
Maybe I’ll check back at the end of the year and see which of my “steps” I managed to keep.