I’ve clung to company lately – my carpool buddy C, my co-workers, even the many students I work with, and of course Husband. I cling to nearby friends and acquaintances, always trying to squeeze one more coffee date or meet-up in even when I’m exhausted and unhappy. I have long operated under the assumption that people even me out, make me less crazy, and make me happy. In large part, they do make me happy: I’m definitely extroverted and I started a whole blog about how the wonderful people in my life gave me recipes.
I’ve noticed, though, that when I don’t take time for myself, a measured version of time for myself that has room for reflection, I stay lonely and hungry for companionship. When I do take time for myself, and really relax without just zoning out with television, I often come to a place where I actually look forward to seeing other people, rather than needing them to come and fill my worried and anxious mind.
This evening, I could have stayed with a social gathering with Husband, who was enjoying himself a lot, but I was so tired and stressed and just done that I excused myself – I honestly did need to go home and pack for an upcoming trip. But more than that, I needed to cook a wholesome meal, make a cup of chamomile tea, take a hot bath, and listen to an episode of Gastropod podcast about the history of chocolate while I tidied the house and filled my suitcase. I also needed to write this blog post.
I’m realizing that just like there is high quality and low quality olive oil, there is high quality and low quality companionship. This doesn’t refer to the quality of the companions; it refers to the motives and mindsets that bring the two people together. I spend lots of high quality time with Husband, but too often he gets time with me that is low quality too because I think I’d prefer to be accompanied than to take a break and experience aloneness. I am never perfect, but I do know that after a restful night like this one, I am less of a jerk and more likely to be the wife and friend that I want to be for those I care about.