Monday, 18 November 2013
So here I am in a London, 5 months in. Great job – tick, new friends – tick, housemates – tick, impending feeling of fear every time I find myself alone – tick.
Part of the reason I want to write about this is not because I have anything particularly original to impart, its more that I know that its not just me, but the lie that it is just me is partly what causes the fear in the first place (if that made no sense, bear with) It’s the same for the numerous other people that I’ve had this conversation with.
As we all know and various blogs never tire of telling us (this included), we live in an era in which we, and everyone we know, or have met once, five years ago, ceaselessly advertises their perfect live via a website that most of us, whether or not we would care to admit it, are addicted to. So on a day to day basis, we invariably find ourselves in a state of comparison.
For me, this, combined with living in a city that is obsessed with being, just like, So Busy, Success and Productive and Having Lots of Fun All the Time, means the idea of STOPPING, doing nothing, fills me with fear and dread. As a result, doing nothing/spending time alone has not been a choice I’ve made since I got here – its been a situation in which I have sometimes unwillingly found myself, when someone has cancelled, or when no one else is free.
My dislike of spending time alone is not something new, I'm an extrovert and naturally thrive around people. However, if I never take ownership of stopping, it loses its richness. I've found that instead of doing things that I enjoy; playing music, running, cooking, I flounder and panic, scroll through my contacts and text people to see whose free, incessantly check facebook to confirm everyone isn’t actually at some party I have not been invited to. It’s ridiculous because actually, there is stuff I love doing on my own, but it’s no fun if my internal state is anxiety ridden rather than restful.
I was at a party yesterday where three of us were talking about what we’d been up to that week, and we all realised that we’d each spent Friday night chilling out in front of the TV, assuming ‘everyone else’ was probably raving it up somewhere. Here’s the thing, people spend time on their own sometimes, they just don’t post it on facebook.
Since I moved here I’ve heard people talk about ‘FOMO’ (Fear Of Missing Out), which I have been told, is like, and actual, ‘thing’. More that anything, its probably a mindset that causes people (me) to live reactively, running from thing to thing, without intentionally carving out space to just BE. This mentality can make spending time alone feel more pronounced in a negative sense, a thing to be feared, rather than a rich space in which to rest, reflect and enjoy.
So, to conclude my self talk session, in the times of being by myself, is to engage with creativity, allow myself to come into the presence of God, and simply be loved my him. It’s very easy to be anxiety driven and reactive in a city that is constantly buzzing and full of super hot hipster people living their aspiring super hot hipster lives. To stand still and be loved by God allows us to engage with people from the perspective that we have something to bring to those relationships – rather than requiring everyone around us to fulfil out unmet needs.