Adventures in Cohabitating: Learning to Appreciate “Me Time”

It’s been an obscene amount of time since I’ve written (again), but I promise that will be changing (I mean it this time. Read on!). Here are some of the big things that have happened since the last time we chatted:

  • March 20: my paternal grandmother passed away and even though it was certainly for the best because she was so sick, grief and planning kind of took over my life for a while.

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  • April 20: I presented to the MSU Meeting Planners Association about social media strategy and conference promotion in the digital age! It was so much fun to talk about the things I’ve learned both as a professional writing student and on the job at the Community Foundation. Plus, it was kind of cool to be a 23-year-old young professional presenting to people my parents’ age!

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  • May 5: Boyfriend became a vet (does that mean I should start calling him “Dr. Boyfriend”…)! He also earned the Ziegler Caring Award because of his outstanding caregiving and professionalism in the clinic. You could say I’m a little proud….

Derek Graduation

  • May 9-21: We went to Peru! I’ll be doing a full debrief on our amazing Peruvian adventure – I’ve had several people suggest that we start a travel blog, and I’m thinking that might be a fun idea! Stay tuned for an exciting new chapter in Katlyn’s blogging adventures.

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  • May 24: We officially moved into our new place! We are finally starting to feel settled in, and it’s so nice to have our own space (and not decide who’s coming over to whose place at the end of a long day).

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The part of moving in together that I thought would be most difficult was learning how to be together in a shared space. I’m a very neat person – Boyfriend not so much. I was prepared for a major transition from living alone and having full control of my surroundings (save for the cat’s will, of course…) to living with a partner who I love deeply (but who doesn’t always put his laundry in the hamper :P).

Instead, what’s been most difficult is adjusting to all the alone time I now have.

Overall, transitioning to living with Boyfriend has been easy. The best way to describe it is that living together feels normal. It was something we were both ready for and it just seems like a natural continuation of our partnership. He even cooks dinner when he’s off work!

Boyfriend works in an emergency veterinary clinic, so a lot of his shifts are long, late, and often on weekends. When you move in with someone, the expectation is that you’ll spend more time together but there have been many nights and many Saturdays where I end up spending most of my time with the dogs and the cat (who are getting along great!).

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Most days, Boyfriend doesn’t get home until after I go to bed and is gone for his shift before I get home from work. Couple that with the fact that we have yet to meet new people in our new home, our new home being 35 minutes away from my hometown, and me working hard to scale back my after-work commitments to have a chance to breathe and…I’m spending a lot of time with myself.

As an introvert (meaning I recharge through solitary activities), I generally enjoy alone time. It’s something that’s been missing from my day-to-day life for as long as I can remember because I’m also a goal-oriented person who has a tendency to overschedule (I know, Mom, I’m working on it!). The ability to “do nothing” has been helpful in regaining some life balance… but often, I just want to “do nothing” with Boyfriend sitting next to me.

IMG_3658A large part of my adjustment to cohabitation has been adjusting to the fact that being with myself is okay. While I crave solitary activities when I’m feeling drained, it’s often hard for me to feel comfortable with only myself (and Romy, Michele, and Tigger) as company. I’m re-learning the art of relaxing and finding activities that bring me joy and energy.

 

Sometimes, that means laying on the couch and binge-watching Orange is the New Black for five hours with the fur babies. Sometimes, that means practicing yoga after a long day at work. Sometimes, cooking a healthy meal even if Boyfriend won’t be able to enjoy it the next day.

A long bubble bath just because.

A run on the river trail near our loft.

A time to make space for writing.

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So much newfound “me time” has made me realize how out of touch I am with the value of “me time.” I’m so used to running on all cylinders and rushing to a meeting and then another meeting and then trying to fit in yoga class or spinning or worrying about the fact that I haven’t blogged in three months because I have no energy left for the things that fill me up in and of themselves…so I don’t know what to do when every minute isn’t so hyper-scheduled.

I told my mom recently that I just feel lonely right now, because I miss Boyfriend and wish he could be around more. That’s still true, absolutely, but I’m learning to appreciate the freedom of empty minutes to fill with things that give me pause rather than keep me going at full-speed. Or sometimes not filling those empty minutes at all and giving myself permission to not worry about being “productive” for a while.

It’s going to be a process to appreciate a little slow-down after 23 years of rapid inertia. I figured what better way to document this growth journey than by doing it here! Be on the lookout for weekly updates as I learn to appreciate and love my “me time.”

 

 

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