Learning to Live with Yourself

I’ve spent a lot of time with myself, lately. Despite working pretty hard to make sure I talk to people outside my household every day, messaging people constantly, and spending more time bothering my coworkers during my work-weeks than is strictly necessary, there are more hours in the day than I can fill with other people. I don’t know if you’ve ever picked up on the theme in my many blog posts, but I don’t really like spending time with myself most days. I’ve got a lot of baggage, spend a lot of time dwelling on negativity, have a tendency to get caught up in my own feelings, and am really not very nice to myself. I’m not exactly the best person to keep myself company.

Which isn’t to say I’m a bad person or not fun to be around. I just understand that I have a lot going on and, as I’m working my way through it all, I might not exactly be pleasant company at all times. I’m willing to overlook my own limitations and obsessions as needed, but they can always weigh on me as I work through my own shit. I’ve got enough going on that I can easily cross-contaminate my own mental processes with spillover emotion from other things.

Which is exactly why I spent my last unemployment week doing nothing but playing the Final Fantasy VII Remake. It was a good time (and will be the subject of an upcoming review), but I was really motivated to do it by a desire to avoid spending time talking to myself while I worked through some shit. I can always tell when I’m avoiding myself instead of getting caught up in something fun because I will absolutely avoid going to bed until I’m “dozing off while brushing my teeth” levels of tired.

Given my complicated relationship with sleep and rest in general, I tend to avoid any chance of being awake in bed, staring at the ceiling while I wait to feel tired or relaxed enough to sleep, only when I’m avoiding myself. Otherwise, I usually like that time since it’s good for letting my mind wander and doing a bit of meditative thinking. After all, if I wind up falling asleep because meditating has relaxed me enough that my body has decided to sleep, then I’ve succeeded at my primary task of going to sleep.

I have to give myself credit, though. I really needed that time away from myself. It may have been followed by an incredibly, mind-blowingly frustrating weekend, but it gave me the space I needed to work through some things without having myself under foot. Following that up with a reasonably productive week at work and plenty of different things to spend my time on instead of losing myself in one thing means I am ready to start working through things with myself. I already am.

I don’t have any miraculous insights or new outlooks to report, but I think I’ve finally accepted a lot of stuff that has been plaguing me for the past few months. It’s literally only been 3 months since I spoke face-to-face with my parents and that was the most difficult, stressful thing I’ve ever done so it is no wonder that I’m still processing it and the fallout from it. I’ve read two books (and have another starting me down) about how to cope with it all, so it’s not like I’ve been ignoring it. I just needed to give myself some more time to feel my way through it.

One of the things that helped a lot was watching this new show by the creator of Adventure Time, Pendleton Ward, that features segments of a podcast by Duncan Trussell mixed into trippy animated adventures that feature way more genitalia (in literal and symbolic forms) than is strictly necessary. Despite it’s often crude humor, there’s a lot of thought-provoking discussion about the nature of death, how to handle grief, and what it means to be a human dealing with human emotions. It’s definitely not a show you’d watch for the visuals, but it is definitely very thought-provoking. I have enjoyed letting it stir up my thoughts as I’ve struggled to make sense of the mess I’ve been for the last… I don’t even know. Forever? Year and a half? Time is losing all meaning to me as it both accelerates and slows to a crawl.

This week, as I deal with another yawing chasm that is a week without employment, I plan to spend more time with myself. Not exclusively, of course. I’ve got an Island with cute animal villagers to maintain (not to mention I still need to cement my status as a Fruit Baron by building myself a Scrooge McDuck money vault in the basement of my home so I can go swimming in my piles upon piles of money), a few more missions to finish in DOOM Eternal, and a nifty coral tower to build in Minecraft. I also have some writing projects I’d like to work on, numerous D&D games to prepare for, and a series re-watch of Adventure Time to continue. No sense in crowding myself while I work to get comfortable keeping my own company again.

After all, roommates come and go, but you live with yourself for your entire life. No matter what problems arise there, it’s better to work them out eventually than try to avoid them for forever. I can’t afford most of the things people do to avoid themselves and I really don’t feel like picking up any bad habits when I know I can just work through it with myself. I know I’m good at compromise and considerate of people’s feelings, so I’m confident that I can come to a mutually beneficial end with myself, even if it takes a while.

Plus, it’s not like I’ve got anything else going on.

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