August 9, 2019 07:57 AM NPT
By: Isha Bista
I love staying at home on Saturday. This is that one glorious day of the week when I don’t have to meet ten different people and sometimes, if I’m lucky, don’t even have to talk to a single person. I simply love it. Staying at home on Saturday, watching a rerun of Friends or binging on the latest series I’m hooked on to, recharges and refreshes me after a long and hectic week. I avoid any kind of social gathering on this day. I’m actually that lone family member who doesn’t show up at birthdays or lunches if it’s on a Saturday. This is my “me” day and, unless absolutely necessary, I’m not giving it up for anything. Not even cake or promise of a good cocktail.
Call me anti-social but I really need a day to be with myself and not be dictated by a strict schedule. But it wasn’t always like this. I used to be made to feel guilty about this, by family and friends who wanted to meet up but were kind of stonewalled by me. They would blackmail me and preach about the importance of “connecting”. A cousin once reasoned that since everyone was so busy throughout the week, the least we could do was make time for one another during the weekend. Telling them that I loved connecting too but I also needed to get away from people every once in a while, preferably at least once a week, was met with further arguments.
So for a long time I caved in and would say yes to whatever engagements that came my way. From my three-year-old niece’s birthday party to my uncle and aunt’s 25th marriage anniversary party part two, I attended every function that fell on the weekend. It meant I had no time for myself and often felt like my days were all merging together but I did it because I didn’t want people to feel bad. I might have been feeling bad myself but at least other’s didn’t think of me in a bad way.
There was also a time when I felt guilty about choosing to stay home on a Friday or Saturday night rather than going out and spending time with friends. I used to feel embarrassed and make up excuses to stay in. I ended up telling people that I had a lot of work to catch up on or already had a prior commitment of sorts. Sometimes I would even say I wasn’t feeling well. Then I would put on my pajamas, pour myself a glass of wine or beer, and lounge around the house doing absolutely nothing and loving every bit of it.
I know quite a few people who feel guilty, uncool, and anxious about staying in during the weekend. Thanks to social media we have a window into everyone’s life and it can often feel like we are the only ones in the entire world who isn’t doing something “fun” by choosing to stay at home. But if down time is what you need, there is nothing to be ashamed about. I usually take this time to recharge my batteries and make myself happy by doing what I love. It makes me better able to understand my own feelings and behavior, and I’m much more likely to be a pleasure to be around during the rest of the week.
I also find that by going out less I’m spending far less money and drinking a lot less too. These aren’t the primary motives behind me wanting to stay at home but they do make really good incentives. Sometimes, friends have “volunteered” to pay for me and have been appalled by the fact that I still wouldn’t budge. After all, it was their “treat”. Shouldn’t that make me jump with joy? If I really wanted to go out, then spending a couple of thousand rupees wouldn’t have been a big deal but if I felt like I was getting a much better and cheaper deal (by staying at home), I would be stupid not to choose that instead.
Some people look forward to going out and spending time with friends all week long. Others look forward to those quiet moments that they can spend curled up on the couch with a book and a glass of wine. I don’t believe you aren’t missing out if you prefer the latter any more than the person who does the former is missing out on a great night of staying in. It depends on individual preferences but introverts are often made to feel like they are the odd ones out. It’s almost like you don’t have a life if you don’t have a buzzing “social” life.
But for the past couple of months, I haven’t really cared about what people around me have to say about my “social (or antisocial) habits”. I have realized that my mental wellbeing and comfort should be my topmost priorities. Nobody else is going to think of me first. And it’s not wrong for me to do it because everybody else is also thinking of and looking out for themselves too. This has helped me considerably lessen my guilt. I might have upset a few friends and relatives along the way but I guess you can’t please everyone all the time. And neither should you try to do so. This weekend I’m going to stay at home and read a book by Ian McEwan and nothing can come between us.
The writer loves her two cats, Chimpu and Coco, and can be found gardening, reading, or sleeping when she’s not working to pay her bills. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.