I turn 19 in three months and I’ve never been left home alone overnight. To be honest, I can’t tell if this is a totally normal occurrence or if it’s just sad. I’ve only been home alone in broad daylight and if my parents were going to be gone overnight, my younger brothers were in the house with me. Being left home alone is always a coveted event in movies and T.V. shows, hyped beyond the high heavens because it’s the chance for teenagers to throw off-the-wall parties and do whatever they want without adult supervision.
My chance had finally come to live out my coming-of-age movie fantasy when, for Labor Day weekend, my family had made plans to go to the beach. Since I’m someone who hates the beach with every bone in her body (I’m Irish, I get sunburnt literally within five minutes of sitting in the sun) I decided to stay home.
As an introvert, being home by myself for multiple days initially sounded like a dream. I wouldn’t have to expend any of my energy toward people and would get to do whatever I want, just focusing on myself. I wasn’t entirely sure that I would love it as much as my mom insisted I would, though. I’m a weird hybrid of an introvert and extrovert (but not quite an ambivert) where hanging out with people for prolonged periods of time makes me tired, but I still like being in the presence of people.
I tried to distract myself from being too stuck in my own head, I really did. I walked my dog until it got too hot to bear. I blasted punk music until I’d exhausted my playlists. I woke up at seven A.M. and did a workout in my living room with Gilmore Girls playing in the background (Team Jess forever). But no matter what I did, I kept getting frustrated at my growing desire to text my mom every hour and beg her to come home.
The weirdest part is that along with my introverted nature, a large part of my personality is already perfect for being alone. I love doing chores, I have set morning and nighttime routines and I love doing spontaneous yoga sessions that I can’t really do with my brothers shouting across the hall about video games every five minutes. But there’s really only so many times you can get excited about having the kitchen all to yourself or about being able to stay up as late as you want reading without the lights bothering anyone.
And truth be told, I feel like there’s only so much time you can be comfortably stuck with your own thoughts. Once I crossed a certain threshold of my time alone without someone to talk to save for my dog, my thoughts started to spiral. As it turns out, over the past several months I have become exceptionally good at living within my own head, and I’m sick of it. Anxiety is such a sneaky little creature and can easily creep up on you out of nowhere, especially when you have nothing to do but stare at your computer or out the window for 12 hours on end.
Like with so many other things that have gone wrong in the past several months, I partially blame my extreme boredom and miserable experience in the world around me. If a global pandemic were not occurring, I could go visit my best friend at Yale instead of having to stay cooped up inside. I could’ve gone to the movies by myself or sit in a coffee shop and be productive for hours on end without worrying if the person sitting next to me is going to give me a life-threatening disease.
Before quarantine, I didn’t really spend a lot of time outside my house if I wasn’t at school. But I think I’m sick and tired of ‘alone time’ after spending the last seven months inside my house, and the four days home alone was the final nail in the coffin. Actually, you know what? Quarantine might have done the impossible and turned me into an extrovert. After a combination of quarantine and my four-day Home Alone escapade, I want to move to a big city and spend hours talking to people and have four roommates and never be by myself ever again.
Just kidding… probably.