Thursday, March 22, 2007

Full House Syndrome

In my head, I've started this post a hundred times. I've thought of things I want to include, things that have happened that pertain to exactly what I want to write about but I just can't formulate anything. It's always surprising to me how I can put words to some things so easily and others, it's so much more difficult.

In less than a week, my sister and nephew will be here to stay for a couple weeks. As usual, I cannot wait. And as usual, I look forward to the feeling of a fuller house. Through my years of living alone, I've realized a few things. I'm good at it, I enjoy it, I even take advantage of it. But one thing is for sure, I'm not made for it. I have Full House Syndrome.

Last weekend, on my trip, I realized this again. My friends and I rented a house for the trip and though it wasn't mine and it was all temporary, the feeling I get when sharing living space with people is one that I truly enjoy. It fulfills me in a way that nothing else can. Though my alone time will always be important, no amount of solitude, quiet, or communing with silence will replace the reassurance I get, the peace I feel, when I'm coexisting with others. The feeling of cooking in the kitchen as you overhear someone in the other room is a kind of calm I don't have words to describe. Just the knowledge of their presence is enough for me. It's a whole, nurturing feeling. One of relaxation, comfort and home.

It's taken me a while to get here. Since I stopped living with roommates, six months out of college, I was bound and determined to make the most of my solo venture. "I will hang a photo on whatever wall I please!" (And I did.) "I will leave my shoes by the door!" (And I do.) "I will leave dirty dishes in the sink whenever I want!" (Yeah, right, not going to happen.) Because that's what I thought independence was all about. I thought it was about doing what I want, when I wanted, for whatever amount of time I wanted and damn it if I wasn't going to enjoy it.

Well, I have enjoyed it. I realize the importance of being alone, of making all your decisions and knowing they generally only affect you. There is no replacement for the knowledge I've gained and the growth I've accomplished (and will continue to accomplish) on my own. But it's not completely me. It's not all of my make-up, not my entire person. No matter how many nails I hammer into the wall on my own, there's always that part of me that will want others near by. I can't imagine feeling life completely any other way.

That sense of another's presence, of their laugh on the phone, even if they're talking to someone else. That sound of lives, intertwined. I know it's not a perfect world, I know there are hard times, times you might wish there was silence. But when you finally get that quiet, and have spent enough time in that perspective, you realize that it's not where you thrive. It's not what recharges you. So in the meantime, until you get that full house of your very own, you learn to get by on temporary fixes. Friends, sisters, nephews, and whatever else you can get will see you through. It has to, it's how you're made.

10 comments:

Backofpack said...

Do you know that I have never, never experienced living on my own? Moved from the family home, to the dorm, to an apartment with roommates, to an apartment with Eric, to marriage, to marriage with children. Never alone. I've had moments of time - a day here and there, or multiple hours in a row of being alone in our house. Sometimes I find myself longing for that independence you describe, where I don't feel responsible to or for anyone but me. But...I know I wouldn't change my life, what I've had and what I've got, because in reality, I have full house syndrome too. And these days, I find myself wondering what it will be like when our formerly full house slips back to a house of two - back to those pre-baby days...

Joe said...

Good post. I crave solitude and silence but when I actually get a day or two to myself, I learn that I miss my family and that full house feeling. Perhaps the ideal is to have a bit of both.

e.b. said...

Oh you are going to have a wonderful time with a house full of family.

skinnylittleblonde said...

I,too, lived alone for years...in college & thereafter. I relished in the quietness and it made the company ever more appreciated....especially if ever it was my sisters. Enjoy the specail time with your family!

skinnylittleblonde said...

special :)sp!

Bre said...

I love living by myself, but there's something awesome about folks coming for a sleep over!

deepThoughts said...

>>That sense of another's presence, of their laugh on the phone, even if they're talking to someone else

It is a lovely feeling indeed!

afuntanilla said...

a really beautiful post. very well said. i, too, feel such a sense of comfort and nurture by those who are in the room...but may be doing something else. it's a very neat feeling!!

Danielle said...

Something we have as a difference I guess!! I so love living by myself...the solitude, time to myself, being able to do what I want, when I want. I think, considering how long I've done it, I would have troubles being married and knowing for the rest of my life someone is always going to be in my house!

Celina said...

I've never lived alone, either. Straight from parent's house, to 2 years in the dorms with roommates, to an apartment with R. I'd say the longest I've been home alone would be 2 days, and that seemed like FOREVER! Even when R is on a long drive and gets home late (10 or 11), I feel like something just isn't right!
Although I must admit, sometimes I do wonder what it would be like to just Be By Myself.
When I leave in a few weeks, R will be here ALONE for over a month, and I betcha he gets lonely and bored without me! (He's been home alone for 3-4 days before.)