Happy new year! I know, I know, we’re fourteen days in now and everyone’s already broken their resolutions and is counting down the days until summer. But today marks the real start of the new year for me, because it’s the first day I’m alone. My kids were off school until the 8th, and my husband had a whole load of leave to use up so he has been off work until today. Which means that the last few weeks have been a merry-go-round of family visits and fun things, followed by a good bout of tidying and cleaning and generally trying to organise a house that now has ten extra tons of toys in it.
Normally, a good January clearout makes me very happy. I like the feeling that I’m starting the year with at least a little bit of my shit in order. But last week, I was really fed up, and it took me a while to figure out why. Part of it was that I’ve had a bit of a low-level annoying cold, because January. But I think another big part of it was just too much company.
I’m not an introvert by any stretch of the imagination. Ask anyone who’s met me ever. And I’ve spent the last three weeks in the company of the people I love best in all the world, so it’s not like that’s a massive hardship. But I really have struggled lately. My life as a freelance editor is largely a very solitary one. Once my daughters are at school, I usually have six whole hours before I have to speak a word to another human being. (I shout at my computer a lot, but that doesn’t count.) I’m a pretty sociable person, but in the last three years I’ve become very accustomed to being on my own. Christmas, with all its lovely family togetherness, is now something of a shock to the system, even more so when the togetherness keeps going for a couple of weeks after the tree comes down.
This year, although I imagine I will have forgotten this by the time Christmas comes back around, I must make sure to carve out more time to be alone. Due to some shifts in my schedule, I ended up having no paid work to do, so I didn’t have that to take me back into my office. It felt like a great opportunity at the time – woo hoo, lots of lovely time off with nothing to worry about! – but I didn’t anticipate how much I would miss my little bubble of isolation.
But I’m back in it now, and so 2019 can truly begin. Here’s to the silence!