Part of my daily countdown to 50
92. One of the things I’ve really come to appreciate, especially in the later part of my 40s, is finding “me time.” That’s not necessarily time to myself, but rather time spent enjoying what I enjoy doing.
I was out with friends last night for St. Patrick’s Day and I was reminded just how much that part of me has changed. It wasn’t uncommon for me to make plans with friends and then flake out the day before, or sometimes hours before. Money was part of the issue – you have some when you make the plans but it disappears in the days leading up to it – but so were exhaustion, headaches and, frankly, sudden attacks of anxiety about being out in public.
That last one, the anxiety, was the one that completely mystified me – as a reporter for 22 years, I felt no anxiety whatsoever talking to strangers, walking into a variety of situations to talk to sources (businesses, gatherings, events), and doing so alone. But take the notebook out of my hands and suddenly I’m a person – open to judgment, condescension and scrutiny.
In the last decade, though, I’ve gradually stripped my anxieties away. I ate in restaurants by myself. I stuck with plans I’d made. If I was meeting friends for drinks, I no longer asked one of them to wait outside so I didn’t have to go in alone (that was the hardest one to conquer, but I did) and I’ve even – just once – gone into a bar and had a drink alone while waiting for a project to be completed at a nearby business.
There is one more I’ve yet to get past: going to a movie alone. I don’t know why, I just haven’t done that one yet. Maybe this weekend.