When I was a teenager, all I wanted was to be left alone. For years I holed myself up in my room writing books nobody would ever read and playing The Sims 2 on my laptop. Once a day I would go out for a long walk in the countryside and get lost in my thoughts listening to music. I didn’t want it any other way, I loved it.
As I transitioned into my 20s, I became familiar with the term “introvert”. People who had their energy reserves drained by social interaction and needed ample recovery time before booking the next brunch with a friend. I liked spending time with my friends but found myself worrying about what would happen if I ever got married. How could anyone spend all their time with someone without becoming exhausted?
The good news is, if you find the right person, your partner has the power to gift your introverted butt with energy. Have fun with the double entendre as you see fit. Since me and my husband were married, we have barely spent any time apart but for a few days here and there. So, when I spent this past week alone in London, the transition was a slap in the face to say the least.
I hadn’t been truly by myself for years and spending evenings alone was weird. By day two, my brain didn’t quite know what to do and loneliness set in. I don’t know about other introverts but loneliness is a pretty rare thing so the skills we need to use to deal with it aren’t necessarily well exercised.
So, what did I do? I did what Joanna Penn of “The Creative Penn” podcast describes as “doom scrolling.” The act of scrolling mindlessly through social media in an attempt to distract myself. It’s pretty effective but it leaves you feeling like rubbish afterwards. It’s hard not to when you’ve read three articles on increasing COVID-19 deaths and taken a quiz to find out what kind of cheese you are just to discover you’re Red Leicester.
I’m the productive type. If I’m not working towards my side-hustle or building my skills at some point during the day, the day feels wasted. But loneliness really gives your motivation a kick in the teeth and even something as simple as writing a blog post (*cough* *cough*) can feel like a monumental task.
The obvious solution to combatting loneliness is to socialise but when that’s not an option, there’s only one real solution: reading. Whether it’s on the sofa, in the bath or in bed, it’s just the medicine we need to distract us. Plus, characters are real people once we’ve read them to life!
Nothing takes us out of the here and the now better than reading but better yet, it’s actually good for us. Scrolling and watching YouTube videos is mindless and requires nothing but open eyes on our part. As tempting as it is to flip open Facebook and start reading about the latest vaccine conspiracies (just for funsies), it’s going to leave us completely zombified by bedtime.
2020 has been probably the loneliest year for all of us, unable to see our friends and family as much as we want to. This kind of isolation is going to take its toll on all of us, but spending too much time on the internet is a sure-fire way to make it worse. Binge read, don’t binge watch.
The closer we get to the new year, the grander our hopes are for the next 365 days. Here’s hoping 2021 can at least allow us to go out for a coffee with our friends so that we don’t completely lose our minds. Here’s to the new year!
Thanks for reading! Did you know I also write urban fantasy books? Check them out here!