Stopping To Smell The Roses: What I Learned When I Became Anti-Social

January 5, 2016  |  

Image Source: Shutterstock

Image Source: Shutterstock

I lived independently in the city of Newark after graduating from college. In those years, I managed to build a life full of freedom, fun and established a name for myself in the city. Like most of us in our 20s, we reach a point of either social burnout or a financial burnout. Three months ago, I was hit with both, which forced me back to the other side of Jersey with my parents. After establishing a life where I was, I fought hard to maintain it from a distance, which meant weekend trips up north to party with friends between Newark, Jersey City, and New York City. But when funds started to dry up, I knew I had to cool it. So I slowly became a social hermit. During my period of isolation, I began to slow down and really smell the roses. In that time, I learned a lot about myself.

The Word “Friend” Shouldn’t Be Used Loosely

When I lived in Newark, my social hotline was always blinging. Monday through Sunday there was always a “wave,” whether it was a happy hour in the downtown area, coming home at the crack of dawn after a fun-filled weekend partying in New York City, or finding an art opening, brunch, dinner or house party because I knew the right people. But when the train rides became exhausting and I started to say no and decline invitations, phone calls started to come few and far between. There were no texts to check on me to see how I was handling the transition, no “Hey, how are you” messages. Nothing. That’s not to say my social circle was filled with shady people, but I have learned that outside of the social scene, we really didn’t have anything else in common that is beneficial.

Less Time Out Allows You To Focus On What’s Important

I didn’t realize how much my social life was a distraction to my work. When I had nowhere to go, I suddenly became more focused on my work. My productivity increased, and I accomplished a lot more in the day. When I became less social, I became more financially responsible and cautious of my spending. I was also able to hit the reset button and brainstorm how I was going to gain my independence again, from obtaining an affordable apartment to more writing opportunities and just knowing how I was going to do things differently.

You Need To Make Time To Rest 

Being away from all the hustle and bustle of the young, wild and free, and worrying less about trying to keep up, I found myself experiencing brighter mornings and less tiring evenings due to a night of staying in rather than staying out late after work. When you have a reputation for being a social butterfly, it can be hard at times (especially on your mind and body) to live up to that.

I Learned To Appreciate The Company Of My Family

Living in Newark, I was always too busy to catch the train to Trenton to visit my family. It was too much of a hassle for me. I missed birthdays, dinners and family gatherings, and for a time, it didn’t really bother me. I’ve become a better daughter, cousin and more to my family now that I am back home with them and focused less on my social life. I’ve even learned how to look beyond the differences in lifestyles between myself and my cousins, and invite them to hang with me sometimes, accepting them for who they are.

As I slowly transition myself back into the social scene, I have a plethora of lessons to take with me. Most important of them all, everything has a balance, but sometimes you have to play both sides of the scale in order to find that equilibrium.

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