I’ve always prided myself on leading an active life, filled with classes [improv, guitar, salsa, yoga, writing] and activities [Pecha Kucha, Second Story, Clandestino, Second Friday Art Walks, Chicago Cares, Boston College Chicago alumni group, bike groups], cultivating old friendships and forming new friendships. I often find myself coordinator, due to my Type-A, only-child personality and “Just do it!” attitude, inviting everyone to do everything and providing the key details to make something happen. I have also always loathed when friends fall off the face of the earth when they start dating someone. In the past week, as I return to reality after fourteen days in Europe, I’ve come to a startling realization.
I’ve been dating someone for seven months and in those seven months, the Cruise Director hat has amassed layers upon layers of dust. I rarely organize social outings. I’d say I only go to 40% of the things I’m invited to. The Solo Life is inconsistent. And it’s not because Boyfriend and I spend 24/7 together, we don’t. But when we’re not together, I’ve found that my default setting is stay at home or go to a coffeehouse and do work, immerse myself in creative project, or read. To be alone.
This makes me ponder – was I leading an active life only in hopes of meeting a guy? Was it all lip-service, the challenging oneself by embarking on The Solo Life, my supposed drive for personal development and new connections by regularly attending networking events and parties? Am I that girl I can’t stand whose every decision, consciously or subconsciously, is rooted in the chances of finding The One? Or a practice-run for The One? I bristled when a friend commented the other day that I didn’t go out because I had no need anymore. But was she right?
Part of my disappearance has to do with what was going on when I met Boyfriend. Life was nutty. I was finishing up a year and a half of improv class, ending with an eight-week run of shows. High stress and a rollercoaster of emotions, as I’m not good at improv, and am not used to sucking at something. I was also in the midst of Dance Experiment, both as a participant and as the coordinator. And as the videographer and editor. Ridiculously fun but ridiculously time-consuming. Added stress of spending crazy amounts of time working on a project that I wasn’t getting paid for. This was also my busy time of year as a teacher [I teach video and photography in various low-income schools across the city], as new projects started and old projects ended, and I had to prep for all the end-of-the-year presentations. Throw into the mix hosting events [Mac ‘n Cheese Minglers, underground supper clubs, comedy night] and the honeymoon period of marathon-dates and staying up till 3, 4, 6AM, I was exhausted. Once Dance Experiment, improv, and teaching ended, I knew I wanted to take time off from activities. But I somehow also found myself taking time off from my social-butterfly life.
Since my return from vacation, I’ve reconnected with a lot of friends. I’ve made a ton of plans, both social and professional. My leg injury, though painful and horrid, was a path of re-entry for many of the lovelies in my life, as they inquired into my status, and offered their sympathy and their help. An ex stopped being an ex, and just became a comforting shoulder. More chatting with Mom. All this is to say, I think Saya-Hiatus is over. I’m rested, energized, and though now walk with limp, am ready to jump back into it.