After 60 hours of no (voluntary) human contact, I feel refreshed and calm. I did nearly have a breakdown about 17 hours in, but I worked through it, and I felt much better afterwards. I felt energized.
Although I had to break my rule of not talking to anyone by answering some important phone calls and making a visit to the doctor, I’m not disappointed because the point of this experiment was not to cut off all human communication, but to take a much-needed retreat and reevaluate certain things in my life.
So here’s what I learned:
- Life’s better when it’s slower.
- Sometimes it’s better to retreat within than to voice concerns.
- When you can’t find inspiration around you, visit your memories.
Maybe these are obvious, but they weren’t obvious for me, and though I didn’t get to write as much as I would’ve liked during this experiment, these realizations alone made it valuable. In fact, I think I’m going to set aside a time daily or weekly to do this, so I can escape obligations for just a little while and do a mental reset. Just like Sheldon and his locked room.
Old me: “I have to talk to someone about this!”
New me: “No you don’t. But you could write about it.”
I just got back from the doctor’s office, and I’m sicker than I thought, so I won’t be able to do much work on here today. Sad. 🙁
12:30am: Woke up from light sleep, had a snack, and took more meds
4:00am: Still can’t sleep. In too much pain.
10:45am: Woke up and went to the clinic and pharmacy across the street. Then stopped by the convenience store for microwavable food, snacks, and juice.
12:20pm: Came back home, ate lunch, and cleaned humidifier.
12:45pm: Blog work
1:03pm: Paid rent, took meds
1:07pm: Reread email I received in the morning from the company I’ll be interviewing with next week. Still don’t understand why I got it. Something about “salesforce request.” I don’t even know what that means. I don’t know if I’m supposed to reply, and if so, how. I can just imagine how that would go. I’d reply, in my rudimentary Korean, sounding like a confused child, confusing them even more.
1:16pm: Can’t think. God, I hate being sick. Need to work on happy writing. Started working on poem #12.
Nothing much to report today other than the frequent interruptions that came from a recruiter who got me a job interview. Of course, I replied to his email and answered his calls; he had a lot of information and instructions to give me. I didn’t leave the house. Got only a little bit of writing done, and I didn’t like what came out. I have a cold, so I’m going to bed early.
I wonder if any of my friends or family have any idea what I’m doing while I’m under this self-imposed house arrest. I wonder if these notes will even be useful at the end of all this. Notes from Apt. 1215…
2/1 ~ 2/2
2:48am: Recorded day 1 reflection
3:42am: Wrote some notes
3:57am: Read a little bit
4:40am: Fell asleep
9:48am: Woke up smelling a gas leak. Watched a lovely Disney short called Paperman. Read a bit of Mixed-Up Files.
10:12am: Went back to sleep
3:27pm: Woke up
3:50pm: Washed dishes, loaded washing machine, prepared breakfast
4:05pm: Had a simple breakfast of steamed corn bread dipped in sugar and soy milk. I should eat at home more.
I lead a pretty fast-paced life, eating most meals on the go or having them delivered, making calls on the subway, rushing from one errand and place to the next with no time to unwind. So when I get home at the end of the day, all I want to do is vegetate with a TV show or the internet. I didn’t feel so bad about this when I had a well-paying job that worked me hard, but now that I’m unemployed, this pathetic routine has made me feel worthless.
This experiment has given me a chance to slow down, think and record my thoughts, and work in a more disciplined manner. And I think it’s worth noting that last night was my first nightmare-free sleep in more than a week.
I normally don’t do daily life posts because they tend to be inane and uninteresting. However, I’m making an exception for this series because 1) it could be interesting since I’m not talking to anyone; and 2) I need to keep a record anyway to later evaluate my productivity under these conditions. I’m highlighting the instances of interpersonal communication in red.
1/31 ~ 2/1
6:42am: In bed, trying to sleep. Drafted automated message.
7:18am: Oh no, I forgot to fill my prescription
7:22am: Wrote rules for the project
7:34am: Oh shit, I was gonna to go LanguageCast today
4:30pm: Woke up. Replied to colleague’s messages. Watered plants.
5:30pm: Made and had blueberry pancakes, egg, coffee
She trudged on, directionless but fueled, her rage focused on the patches of pavement shifting and trembling beneath her favorite shoes.
He’d looked at her with unfocused, uninterested eyes. He’d shaken her hand. He’d politely led her into his office and waited for her to sit.
The wind snuck its way into the hole between her scarf folds. She covered it absent-mindedly and walked faster. A pigeon scuttled in circles in her path. She stopped and thought back to the clock.
It was round, standard, white. She’d stared at it at the start of the interview, trying to recall the Stranger’s emotions. She didn’t mean to stare at it; it merely interrupted the path of her gaze, and she found it alarmingly blank. The priest? “I don’t remember,” she said. She couldn’t remember any of the plots of the books she mentioned, only impressions, the smoke that trailed off, the “faint remainder,” “the gentle indifference of the world.” So what if he didn’t visit the priest?