I’ve discovered all sorts of things since moving into my own place. With no one around to offer distraction or influence my schedule, there is a lot of new time to occupy. This was actually one of the effects for which I was hoping when I started the search for an apartment, but I’ve been amazed at how dramatic the difference is.
For example, when I was sharing a house, if we were planning to go out together, I’d wrap up whatever I was doing maybe fifteen minutes before the scheduled departure. Then I’d chat with the other people involved until the time to go. Now, on the other hand, I just leave when I want to leave, without worrying about inconveniencing anyone, or having to wait for them.
I’m a little concerned that I’ll become hopelessly spoiled by the total control over my own schedule! At the same time, though, I still have to get to events on time. It’s just been interesting to notice that the effect of going out to a party or a concert or a movie with friends has less overall impact on my time, because I can keep working on projects until the last minute, then grab my purse and leave to get there perfectly on time.
The real question has been how to fill up all those randomly multiplied fifteen minute increments. The first week I was in my apartment, I managed to get an entire story rewritten (it was old and needed to be approached from a new angle altogether), just by pulling out my computer every time I had a few minutes before bed, or before leaving for work, or before an event. It was kind of amazing. I realized how much can be done if one is able to use all one’s time efficiently.
However, that first week, I was still settling in and getting used to being all on my own. Now that I’m comfortable, I’m working on deep-cleaning the apartment. The carpets were cleaned before my move and the guy who had the place before did a reasonable job in surface cleaning before his departure. Man-clean is different from woman-clean, though. I’ve cleaned an amazing amount of grease and grime out of unlikely corners and surfaces that he apparently just didn’t think of (the ceiling above the shower, for example – a surprisingly gross place).
I’m also working on curtains and some other projects, just to get the place feeling more like home. It’s amazing what a difference window treatments and wall decorations make. Until all those are hung, there’s always a lingering feeling of being an itinerant – not quite settled in the place and ready to move on at any point.
I’ve actually been making amazing progress – black-out bedroom curtains and all my kitchen curtains last week – but even so, the cleaning and sewing makes it busy enough that I’ve not been able to fit any new writing into the days. I was feeling a little antsy about this, but then I realized that all those projects will be basically done by the middle of May, at the very latest, and then I’ll really have lots of time to fill. I can write to my heart’s content until the next round of projects rises (I have some furniture refurbishing plans in mind…).
The final thing I’ve realized is that when you don’t have friends built into your home life, you suddenly become much more interested in other people. I’ve joined a choral group, met with old friends, gone to a party, and had several friends over since my move, just two weeks ago. The pleasant thing, though, is that since I do in fact find so much extra time in my schedule, I can enjoy socializing, without feeling that my chance for writing or getting projects done is being eaten up. Just today I went for an hour walk around town, and I’m still managing to get household chores done, a blog post written, and some sewing preparations set up.
It’s interesting watching one’s own life adjust and settle after a big change. Luckily this has been a good change, so I’m enjoying the process and finding almost all the effects enjoyable and exhilarating. Life is busy but good – and very productive, which is something I value!
I realize one can’t live alone forever, so this new abundance of time is a temporary luxury. Even so, I’ll probably be here for at least a year (my lease term!) so I might as well enjoy what I’ve got, while I’ve got it! So far that process is going very well. I’d be curious to know, though: do you find that you are more productive alone or when living with others? Leave a comment to share your experience!