A black and white photo of a house in the woods

“I’ve decided to live my life as if I’m alive.” —Will McAvoy, “The Newsroom”

I have recently become aware that I might be living vicariously through my favorite television shows. The older I get, the more of a homebody I’ve become. I love the comfort of my routine, and it takes a solid effort on my part to be social.

I mean, I even struggle to answer my phone, which seems like a red flag. Especially since COVID-19 hit, I’ve basically moved home, and it’s pretty much everything I’ve always wanted! However, I worry about my tendency to isolate and live life through characters behind a screen instead of interacting with the real world.

I worry about my tendency to isolate and live life through characters behind a screen instead of interacting with the real world.

These notions have even been creeping into my dreams. I’ve been having a ton of dreams lately—most of which I don’t care to remember. Yet, there was one that was somewhat amusing. 

In the dream, one of my friends was taking me on a whirlwind tour of some city. I think it might have been the city I was supposed to be living in, which just goes to show I know I need to get out more. We zoomed past different eateries and entertainment venues. I’m not sure if we were on a bike, a magic carpet or if we were just flying.

People were dancing on tables. I was chatting with a movie director. Then, I found myself on some sort of dreamy ride under a starry sky, where I was pointing out the constellations. Cue “A Whole New World” in the background. Then, there was a saxophone playing, a baby being breastfeed, a larger-than-life female bartender who was performing bottle tricks while serving her patrons. It was an outlandish dream.

Snap back to reality, I genuinely cherish the cozy routine of my everyday life. Most of the time, I honestly don’t feel a need to make any effort to get out there. I live my life the way I want, and I’m happy. I’m insanely grateful for the health and safety of my parents and the time I get to spend with them now.

I have adorable fur babies, good friends, a job where I’m appreciated and this little writing hobby that makes me feel like I’m a part of something larger than myself. I’ve loved working remotely, exploring and being productive in the “work from home” culture we live in. I treasure the freedom and flexibility of my life. If anything, I relish the fact that with the current state of the world, the pressure to socialize is gone.

I relish the fact that with the current state of the world, the pressure to socialize is gone.

I wasn’t always this way. In my 20s, I was much more of a social butterfly, making plans with friends and enjoying nights out. In my 30s, however, going out often feels more like a chore than a good time. I’ve also realized that I like quality time with good friends instead of big crowds of people.

I know what I like, what I enjoy and what I don’t. I am what they call an “extroverted introvert.” A lot of this is just part of growing up.

I just want to make sure I’m not completely preventing myself from connecting with others and meeting new people. I hate that I dread small talk and talking on the phone as much as I do. I hate that these things give me anxiety. 

Ironically, I almost always feel better once I do the things I dread. Turns out there is something to be said for human connection and community! It is good to have someone to vent to, to listen to, to laugh with, to learn from and make plans with. It does something good for the soul. It is good to have someone to understand what you’re going through and remind you that you aren’t alone. It is good to have someone to just be silent with, to travel with and to blow off steam with.

I realize I need to try and find these moments in my daily life. While I still look forward to seeing my television friends each night, I am aware that I need to push myself out of my comfort zone, occasionally. “I’ve decided to live my life as if I’m alive,” while social distancing of course.

Do you find yourself more inclined to social gatherings or spending time alone? What is the beauty in challenging yourself to step outside of your comfort zone?

Image via Carissa Gallo, Darling Issue 13

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