At the end of January I decided to keep couch surfing for another month because I felt I hadn’t gotten the experience I wanted, although I was still unclear what that experience was supposed to be.
I just knew there were things to learn about myself and others, and there were memories to be made, a social reservoir to be filled inside me before I could return to being comfortably alone.
One lesson I’m learning is how to carve out my own comfort zone in someone else’s comfort zone. Not thinking in absolute terms of everything is okay or nothing is okay. How not to feel like a guest, a feeling I don’t really like, and how to access my needs without feeling selfish.
Being an impulsive, creative person is great once you establish the routines that make the day to day stuff simple and natural. It seems obligatory to say we hate routine but it’s really pragmatic and amazing for people who want to free themselves to be dreamers all the time. Having a routine for the responsibilities means takes away the nagging back burner of your brain. Instead of feeling bad about not doing laundry when you’re writing and feeling bad about not writing when you’re doing laundry, knowing there’s allotted time for both let’s you give either your best attention.
Something that utterly falls apart when you’re moving every week.
I’ve settled into a complete absence of discipline and motivation. I just have impulses and if they can be satisfied I do and if they can’t I don’t use the time for anything better. I don’t have routines or any good habits left. The best angels of my psyche tell me that the best version of myself would commit to getting up at the same time everyday, exercising, eating right, reading daily, journaling, not blowing money to kill time, et cetera – no matter where I am.
But it’s not pragmatic to force yourself to be something you’re not. Work with what you know about yourself instead of trying to be perfect through will power alone.
I am certain beyond a doubt that I laughed more in the last months than I did all last year. The great inside jokes that bond people for a life time are incidental, they happen on walks, after drinks, at work, while cleaning, they never announce their arrival, they cannot be planned. I have so many inside jokes from all the places I’ve stayed that even explaining them at the next place I stay becomes a joke unto itself. The amount of absurdist jargon now living in me is transcendent. Laughing together, and laughing at how hard you’re laughing at something absurd, is the greatest mark of friendship.
And I think that’s what I wanted from this experience most of all. When I decided not to find a place immediately after leaving the old apartment it was because I had this vision of myself standing alone in an apartment that was new and disappointingly the same, that I’d become anonymous, lonely, and surrounded by the other anonymous and lonely.
And now my vision of myself is laughing, sharing, dining, drinking, singing, getting tattooed, having morning coffee, evening coffee, late night scotch, conversation, and joy with a river of friends I can always reach and circle back to in times of need and more importantly in times of not-need. People I can spend my normal days with.