Friday, August 1, 2014

How To Spend a Friday Night Home Alone

Have you ever spent a Friday night home alone? What did you do?

Growing up, I always viewed Friday nights as a time to do something special, with Aaron or friends. After we married, we set aside Friday nights as date night, and we've done some fun things and consumed some delicious food.

I can’t remember the last Friday night when I didn't have plans, even if it was just testing out a new recipe at home with Aaron.

But last Friday night, I had absolutely no plans. Aaron was at a wargaming tournament in Massachusetts; the friends I contacted were all busy.

The prospect of an evening all by myself was a little daunting, since I've held such high expectations for Friday nights. However, I put together a plan, and told Hobbes that we were going to have a date.

The date started off with a book: the only one by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie that I haven’t yet read. She’s currently one of my top favorite authors. It was beautiful outside, and I pulled out a chair and read Half of a Yellow Sun for a few hours.

Next on my list was to try out one of my Pinterest recipes. I picked out cookie dough brownies, and spent time creating the combination of two of my all-time favorite desserts. Inspired by Adichie’s book, I found some Nigerian High Life music on YouTube, and listened as I baked. 

I’d planned on giving myself a facial or foot soak, but I was way too absorbed with Adichie’s novel, so I decided to take a rain check. After all, it was my date night, and half the fun was that I got to do literally whatever I wanted. Hobbes and I did make time, however, to take a few selfies.

I climbed into bed, with brownies, and called Hobbes over. I spread out her blanket on the bed; it was a Christmas present to Aaron and I until Hobbes claimed it and totally took it over, and now we can’t travel without her blanket. (Yes, we’re ridiculous, and yes, she’s totally my cat baby.) When I spread out her blanket on the bed, she usually comes running over, settles down on top, and starts purring.

We spent the rest of our lazy night right there, me with my book and Hobbes with her blanket.

I’m an introvert, and definitely need time alone to recharge. Yet when I went to college and lived in the dorms, I realized how much I really enjoyed having people around. I really cherish Aaron’s presence even when we’re doing our own things, because being with him is as good as being alone for me. So I was afraid that I would get lonely on my date night with Hobbes, even as cute as she is.

I've tried to seek out a good balance for my introvert self, since my natural tendency is indeed to read books at home all the time. Even though that’s exactly what I did Friday night, it was okay, because I’d made an effort to spend time with others, and instead of trying to shut out the world, my heart was in a place of peace. Even though I was alone, I was still able to use the time intentionally to rest.

I've been thinking lately about intentional use of my time, since I make my own schedule now. I have to work to be productive, because it’s way too easy to spend hours goofing off online.

I can’t always be productive, but I hate feeling like I've unintentionally squandered time. I’m finding that even lazy time can seem intentional to me if I have a plan for it, as long as I remain flexible and open to change. Last Friday, I made a plan, but I allowed the plan to adapt to the texture and feel of the evening. And I enjoyed my solo Friday night immensely.

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