On Being Alone

... not the same thing as being lonely, mind you.

I spend a lot of time alone.

This is due, in part, to the fact that my typical week-day requires a computer, space, and limited distractions.

The computer is for, well, let's face it, everything

I work online for a company in the States, which means I spend a relative amount of time staring intently at my laptop screen, muttering things to myself in a distracted manner.  Someone recently told me that the computer literally soaks up your energy, which I had never really thought about before and has bothered me since.  Incidentally, it feels true.  (Like last week, with seventy files worth of near-illegible hand-written documents.)

I also use my computer for creative things: writing short stories, which I think may just be my niche; Etsy and Lulu-related things (check out my new mixed media pieces and my recently self-published children's book, please!); blogging (ta-da); and, unfortunately, Facebook time.  I've never particularly liked Facebook, but since I've moved to Europe it has become indispensable to me since I cannot just call home at will, and few people I know actually utilize skype.

The space is for my art, mostly.  Whenever I am creating anything, I tend to take up a lot of room.  This is the entire reason why I picked the huge white Ikea table when we were buying furniture (I mean, really, three people do not need this much space to eat a meal).  In seconds, the entire table is filled with all things crafting and there is always overflow.  This makes me incredibly happy.

Since Isaac started kindergarten four months ago, and I suddenly had more time to do all of these things, I've tried carting them to coffeehouses in an attempt to balance out this feeling I get, at the end of an entire day spent in my living room by myself, that nothing is real (yes, this does happen).  Unfortunately, I've come to the conclusion that I am far less productive when in public.  Thus the limited distractions (unless I am doing 'research' for stories, which does involve a certain amount of people-watching and eavesdropping.  There.  I've admitted it).

At about three o'clock Monday through Friday, I go pick Isaac up from kindergarten.  He has a shower and a snack and then we 'play school.'  It's best viewed as a game (all the better to trick him with), but truth be told, by the time we move back to the States next year I would like him to be reading in English.

In the evenings, I like to run.  This can take anywhere from thirty minutes to over two hours, depending on what day it is.  I ran shorter distances over the summer, what with the warm weather and all my visitors, and am now trying to build back up to lengthier runs.  I also started doing my Insanity workouts again, which I kind of love.  They make me feel strong.  Don't laugh.  I prefer doing these workouts alone though, because - and don't deny it - doing video workouts feels relatively silly.  Someday I will join a gym and nothing will feel silly anymore because I am not doing it in my kitchen.

On weekends, whenever possible, we like to explore (like next Saturday's near-sporadic trip to Norway!).  It's one of the things I love most, because it is unfamiliar.  I read a quote somewhere that said "I am in love with cities I've never been to and people I've never met," which, possibly, describes me in some ways.  On the other hand, the unfamiliar things can make it feel kind of lonely too.

If I still lived in the States, I'm sure I would spend significantly less time alone for two reason: I would probably have a car (I'm really looking forward to having a car again because, as much as I love trains and buses and walking, it takes a lot of time and planning to go places); and my family is there.  This is one of the perks of growing up in a large family, particularly with a lot of siblings close to your age who all have a thing for coffee, a thing for talking over movies, a thing for roadtrips, and a thing for midnight runs to Huddle House.  Or Waffle House.  I always get them mixed up.

This is no reflection on living in a foreign country other than the fact that my family isn't here.  I've made a lot of friends in Denmark who I love hanging out with, but you understand when I say that it's different when it's your own family.

I've been missing home a lot lately, something that is compounded by the fact that my beloved coffeepot died this week.  Of course, I have this huge Danish coffee maker (which, incidentally, resembles a battleship or a time machine or something), but it's just not the same.  Whenever I wake up and wonder why I am so far away from home, it's kind of nice to walk into my kitchen and see my Mr. Coffee sitting on the counter, looking so home-like, turn it on, and feel just a little bit better simply because it's ... well, familiar.

(Incidentally, my vacuum cleaner also died this week.  Which is a must-have thing, since I live in a country where I basically walk everywhere and live in an all-wood-floor flat.)

I am very much looking forward to opening my coffeehouse, someday-not-so-far-off, where all these things I love will be incorporated into a setting of my own making.  Also, ideally, I will live upstairs (all the better to go from solitude to social in a matter of minutes).

Here's to hoping, anyway.

 ... because C O F F E E  IS ALWAYS A GOOD IDEA.


  1. oh, a coffee house sounds wonderful! I'm so busy with canning and stocking up, that I can't wait for a coffee break. I keep putting the same cup of coffee in the microwave. Yuck. I can't see to get a second to enjoy it (I am now while my water bath starts to boil for salsa).

  2. Why is it that video workouts make us feel silly, when standing in a room full of people trying to samba or squat during a zumba workout doesn't? I have seen the insanity workouts and I tend to believe they are aply named. Wow. You do those? You are awesome then in my book.

  3. What a great post. I am soon looking to make the transition to working at/from home full-time... yes, in front of a screen. I totally get the "not feeling real" element to it. I also love the huge IKEA table and can relate with missing people.

  4. I loved this so much. I love reading about your day-to-day life. I also adore how close you are to your family. I'm pretty obsessed with my family and its so hard being only 400 miles apart, so o can't even imagine how hard it is being a whole ocean apart from yours.


( hippies always welcome )