I spent all of last weekend accidentally holed up in my house by myself. There’s a particular weekend in May that is usually reserved for the perfect storm that is my mother’s birthday, my brother’s birthday, and Mother’s Day all rolled into one. But even though this weekend was all reserved for those festivities, they were all cancelled at the last minute and I found myself with loads of free time.
Now, for a lot of comickers, this would be a dream come true. We crave solitude and the indoors, shunning sunlight and interaction. And this is usually the case for me too. I work at home one day a week, and it’s always a struggle to force myself to leave the house just on that one day in order to mail stuff, run errands, drop off books at comic stores, etc. Do I drag myself out of the house the four days of the week I’m not working at home? Yes. But begrudgingly.
My dream is to someday make my own schedule and work from home at will. I love being holed up all day myself and not having to go out into the sunshine and be around the public.
So that’s why it was troubling that this recent unexpected stretch of hermitdom . . . Started to get to me after a while. I made it through Friday without a hitch. Plenty of stuff to do, plenty of fun meals to make. Come Saturday, knowing I had limited time before I’d have to go out and meet up with family, I was productive and level headed. But once Saturday plans fell through, even though I delighted in having more free time to myself, I started to feel … twitchy.
I read somewhere once that people need to see at least one human face a day. Not a photo, not TV. They had to get out and look at a real life person in order to feel okay. Like when you work in a cubicle all day, they tell you just being able to see something green and alive outdoors reduces your stress levels and allows you to pretend you don’t work in a tiny box.
Something must happen when you’re sequestered, even for a little while, that requires you to remind your brain you don’t live in a post-apocalyptic wasteland. That there are other people outside, in case you need them.
I don’t think I’d ever get cabin fever. I see The Shining as a fun vacation spot. But I do know this – on Saturday, I was forced to break hermitdom by powers beyond my control and go out in search of a face. And then, magically, I felt better again.
How do you guys deal with the solitude? What’s your quota of human faces per day?