6/12/21: Being Alone Without Distracting Ourselves

I had a fam wedding last wknd. Though you know from my Stories how much I love the legroom on economy flights ;), the prices on the airlines were a bit steep, so my brother & I decided to drive 8 hrs each way, in order to celebrate w our fam members.

Though 16 hrs, w/in abt a 32 hr period in a car is a lot of time, we spent most of it listening to sports talk radio, podcasts (shout out to Bill Simmons’ Rewatchables), & some music. Essentially we were able to distract ourselves w some entertainment.

The wedding itself was the nt we arrived, & we had an awesome time catching up w fam we hadn’t seen in a very long time. This was to be our one nt staying in a hotel, set for the drive back the next day.

Made sense to share a hotel room, as I came alone, & his wife was back w the baby (who you’ll also often see in Stories)…& as we went to bed, I did what I always do: put some kinda podcast on my phone, dozing off while listening.

This time was diff however. Though I put the volume on the lowest level (yes, I forgot headphones), my brother could still hear it, & asked if I’d be OK shutting it off, so he could sleep. Of course I obliged.

But, wired from the nt of catch-up we just had…I couldn’t fall asleep. And here’s the thing- bc I wasn’t alone in my bed in my apt, I didn’t have something else to distract me. I had to just lay there.

I know many of you describe racing thoughts related to anxiety & what if scenarios. That wasn’t my experience…but it was uncomfortable nonetheless. It was a feeling of nothingness. My brain felt “spent.” It was like I was laying there TRYING to conjure up images, to distract from the emptiness of thoughts…but to no avail.

Know what ultimately ended up helping me relax & fall asleep? Just focusing on, & counting my breaths.

You may fall in either bucket- racing thoughts, or feelings of emptiness…or you may feel something uncomfortable that’s completely different. But in my case, being “forced” to be alone w/o distractions (something I do all day w work, & at nt w tv/podcasts), showed me I gotta learn to be comfortable w just myself. We can’t be healthy living a life of distraction.

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