Oh, and thanks, but no thanks, I don’t think I’ll need your acquaintance…
The holidays are here.
Decidely here. And I have been trying to avoid them. With fervor. I have not really been in a holiday mood or spirit at all. I am sure that you could tell. I can't quite put my finger on it, but I am just not feeling it. Luckily, Maureen’s wedding provided a much needed distraction and event during Thanksgiving, but Christmas is still looming. Closer and closer, it is stealthily creeping daily. Never stopping. And that has made me think. Think about family, about friends, and about relationships. Now, y’all… this isn’t a blog about my family…or something that has happened. This is really more of just random musings that have been in my head as of late. Well, I guess it’s about time, really. That and about priorities… and what is important in my life. Truly important.
I mean, it’s no secret that I work a lot. Of course, I wouldn’t say too much, but I do realize that I work more than your average person. I didn’t think anything of it for years, until I realized that everyone made a face or kind of recoiled. No, seriously… everyone visibly blanches or makes some type of face when I explain what I do, how much I travel and how much I work. I never understood it, and I’d be like “But, why? I like to work.” And that’s just the truth: I like to be busy. I like to always have something going on. (I have no idea where I get this gene from… My mother is not like that and requires down time. My dad is the same way. So, siblings, cousins, etc… Where did WE get it from?)
Anyway, work. Lots of it. And this, in turn, breeds people I need to see, and places I need to go. Which in turn, breeds required travel. Apparently, this requires lots of travel. Sooo, that in turn provides alone time. (I am sure there is a diagram for this. Or I’ll need to create one, but yeah…)
Part of me realizes that there is a need in me for companionship, friendships, and relationships in general. I DO need people around me. I like familiarity. I love my friends and family and I like them close and around. Generally, I have kept my work and social lives in balance. But traveling has altered and tilted that balance I had carefully cultivated and created. It has made my life where I have less control of my alone time. I am a very social creature. I am not one that likes or loves to be alone for extended periods of time. And I know that. I don’t see it as a weakness or a crutch, and more importantly… I am perfectly okay with that. But, the social aspect is that for weeks I’ll miss my Jackson friends and miss out. And then for weeks, I’ll miss out on my Tampa friends. And both will require weeks of social catch up and endless events and appointments. That can become tiring after about 2 or 3 days back in a location where you just want a fluffy robe, a couch, some wine, and a movie.
OR, then I’ll have weeks of travel and I’ll have extended amounts of time where I am in a different city and know no one. And have lots of time to myself. This is great for a day or two, because I REQUIRE some amounts of alone time. I like to focus on things… and I need time to organize, time to study, time to reflect. I need time to plan and recharge. Time to focus and make sure I am following the right path. In those lights, I intellectually understand that. But I don’t require LOTS of time like that. The benefit is that I get to be with my thoughts, but after a day or two by yourself in a hotel, you are willing to sit in a hotel bar and make friends with strangers, staff or drivers. Since I am not a dull person, I am always meeting new people, and being “Michael K”. I am always getting myself into some type of situation that usually ends up with a funny story.
I do realize how this can read, and I am not “complaining” about either situation. I love my life. I am very blessed and have no reason to bitch or moan. And truthfully, neither situation is a bad thing, per se, but I generally like to be in control of my circumstances. (I am sure those close to me are nodding heads and rolling their eyes) So, while some alone time is needed, how much is TOO much? I mean, I don’t think I feel lonely. But there are days where I do feel left out. When friends don’t invite me places because they don’t think I’ll be around to go anywhere. And it happens in both cities. I mean, I realize that people are not required to keep up with my schedule, but geez... I wouldn’t mind a text or message sometimes reminding me that you know I am alive. Or when it comes to events and invitations, as a result, I am either invited last minute, or not at all… To be perfectly frank, I think it contributed to my last break up mainly because I am so independent naturally and it just promotes me being in my own head, with my own ideals and not really bonding closely with the other person.
Reflecting on some of this and on the actions of others lately, I think I am going to have to start more closely paying attention to social activities vs. quality time with real friends. And making sure that I pick the right one with the right one! (Now, don’t get your panties in a wad: If you don’t make the cut, then you are probably not going to miss me anyway.) If I never see you, never hear from you, you never respond to text, twitter or facebook… Then WHY would I put in extra work or more work than you to maintain a friendship?? Doesn’t mean I am not your acquaintance or “friend”, it just means that I got the hint. Friendships and relationships take work, and sometimes it’s apparent when you are the only one texting or calling when you are available. Now, trust me when I say that I am not one of those poor souls that simply MUST have company every second of every day. But I do enjoy a full social life. I like it. AND I like my solitude just as much. It’s my Gemini nature. So, yes… I am definitely going to have to start more closely paying attention to how I allocate my time with friends and family to ensure that I am getting "quality vs. quantity" with my time.
Oh, and Bah! Humbug! and all that...