I sometimes text my best friend before I go to bed, if I haven’t spoken to her in a while or met up with her. People say that talking on the phone is more personal than texting. But somehow the two have always been equally personal, when it comes to us. There’s just something about funny spellings, capitalizing words, spelling words wrong, punctuations, emoticons, and the way we use them. It’s like we have a secret language with each other.
So anyway. Last night, after talk of our latest relationship drama had subsided (how predictable, right?), came the time for random, non-specific talk. “I had a good day today” I say. “Vot you did?” she replies.
“Huh” I thought to myself. “What DID I do today?” Honestly, I did nothing. I spent the entire day by myself, at home, with my TV, my Game of Thrones book, my ghar ka khanna, my laptop, and my mind. And it was a great day. Nothing tell-best-friend-worthy. Nothing earth-shatteringly exciting. Nothing out of the ordinary. Nothing I’d remember 10 years from now. But so what? Still a good day.
From providing for the family, to fostering work relationships, to actually getting work done, to socialising, to again finding time for the family; it becomes difficult and tiresome sometimes to stop, catch a breath, and hang out with most important person in our lives – ourselves.
The beauty and significance of alone time is steadily being overlooked these days, not only because of logistical problems, but also because we end up spending so much time with the people we add to our lives, that it becomes surprisingly difficult to imagine spending time without them; and more than that, actually enjoying this alone time.
What does solitude mean to me? Lots of things. Independence. A time to reflect on myself, my life, my relationships, my work, my future. My time to get comfortable with myself. A time to enjoy a hobby. A time to be creative. A time to be selfish and help myself to the biggest slice of cake. A time to be the one who decides what to play on itunes. The time to write something; sometimes useless, sometimes decent, and sometimes soul-bearing. The time to be lost in my thoughts, no matter how inconsequential, or overly philosophical. The list goes on.
Now I’m not saying that we should rejoice in the fact that a friend cancels a lunch date, or be thrilled that the husband is staying late at work. It’s alright to feel upset about these things and feel the need to foster our relationships, don’t get me wrong. All I’m saying is that we can make so much out of time with ourselves, aside from our social relationships. We just need to turn that loneliness into aloneness or carve out a little time for this aloneness, to experience its benefits. By gaining a little perspective from our time alone; we can actually help strengthen our relationships with others, increase our productivity at work, and be more certain about what we want out of the day, out of the next 5 years, or out of life.
So when I replied to my best friend’s question about my doings for the day, I just send her a simple “Nothing really. Chilled at home alone.”
A prompt second later, she replies. “BEST.”
That’s all. No “Oh you should have told me.” No “We could have gone out for a movie or something.”, no “Oh no, nobody at home?” like I would expect with some others.
Just “BEST”. With that one word, she’d one again re-affirmed to me why we get along so well, and why I had stayed up till 3 am, texting her of all people.