The first night in the apartment was bizarre and lonely. Sleeping in a new bed, in a strange place, with foreign sounds and NO INTERNET made me feel agitated and anxious. I carelessly burned through 35 euro worth of phone credit-an amount that can last me two months- on a meager 20 minute phone call home. And when the line cut abruptly short, I was left with a silence that slithered and squeezed so tightly around my chest, I felt I might never breathe in again.
Within a few days I found my way; slowly creating new rhythm and routine. Finding solace in music, or podcasts, or bits of conversation heard through thin wall. To be honest, learning to be by myself has been an experience that I do not take for granted. I am only now becoming aware of how immensely important this experience is for me. I realize that though there are times I crave solitude (I think we all do) I typically feel uneasy on my own. Perhaps due to the fact that I have rarely been by myself in my life. I come from a very close family, which I adore and love being around, and as far back as I can remember have always had at least one friend with whom I was joined at the hip. For the past four years, I've been lucky to be in a relationship where I can spend endless amounts of time with my bf, and it's never stifling, but rather wonderful. That's not to say that I don't have moments of solitude in my life; I often enjoy running or walking around the city or shopping on my own, however given the choice of doing those activities with others has always seemed like more fun to me. If I'm honest, I think I shy away from being by myself because I am terrified of loneliness-a feeling I confuse with being inept, pathetic, a failure- as it is something I find horribly debilitating.
I see now that it doesn't have to mean those things. While often unpleasant, feeling lonely can be a freeing, strengthening and ultimately a human experience. I have yet to meet one person who hasn't felt truly loneliness at one time in their life. Why are we, or rather, am I, so afraid to admit it?
Though I enjoy being able to go out with my friends more now that I live in the city, and it is a struggle pushing myself (a home-body) out of this 17 m2 apartment to try new things, I am, to some extent, enjoying my loneliness. I wouldn't go as far to say that I love it, but it has forced me to shift my thinking about myself and what I am capable of, and I am appreciative about that. At the end of the day, coming home to a quiet apartment isn't that bad after all...
...unless one is without internet. The horror!