Breathing Room

I’m an introvert, by which I mean I enjoy and crave time and space by myself, especially after I’ve been around other people. Aside from that, I’m also a relatively shy and quiet person, depending on the environment.

But sometimes you have to learn to be something other than your natural self, and sometimes it’s really for the best. I’m working eight to fifteen hours a day, with one day off a week (averaged over every four week block; just finished nine days in a row which was rather tiring). This doesn’t leave a lot of time for me to relax and enjoy my own headspace, let alone give both my boyfriends the attention they need (and giving them the attention they actually deserve is out of the question). And keep the apartment clean. And get my hair cut. And call my parents (it’s been two weeks… Oops).

So my natural inclination, after a long day of taking care of people in the hospital and almost never being alone, is to come home and vegetate. The problem is that vegetating in front of my computer isn’t actually very restful and fulfilling, and after several days of that, my partners and I begin to feel disconnected from each other.

I’m trying to put into practice the lessons I learned the last time my schedule was this bad. I try to be as communicative as possible about my schedule, I try to voice my alone time needs clearly (“I’m going to do my own thing for the next hour but the rest of the night we can hang out”), and I’m learning that the better quality my alone time is, the less of it I need.

I also used to try to play catch up on my days off, and honestly that just sucks. Why should my one day off be for cleaning and running errands? That’s not a day off at all! These days I try to make more of a daily effort to help out around the apartment, like emptying or loading the dishwasher on occasion. Then on my day off, I do something mildly productive (like cooking a batch of something and a tiny bit more cleaning) and spend the rest of the day doing things I enjoy, and being present with my loves.

Another thing is that I’ve been learning to recharge around Catalyst and Ember, which will be an absolutely crucial skill when/if we all live together. I’m actually quite good at doing it when I’m just around one of them, and I’m much better at relaxing around both of them now. It used to be very draining being around the two of them at the same time; I felt like I always needed to be attentive and “on.” Now I’m okay tuning out on occasion (especially when they’re geeking out over something I’m not interested in) , and I’ve learned how to be a more coherent self around them even though their energies are very different.

Medical Residency, especially intern year, can be pretty rough and time consuming. Relationships in general also take a fair bit of time and work. Add on having two relationships, one of which is an LDR, and an introverted personality, and you have what could be a recipe for disaster, but is actually working out rather well, all things considered. Catalyst and Ember would certainly like to see much more of me (and I of them), but we’re enjoying the time we have, and I feel like I’ve got enough breathing room to make it through this intact.

Leave a Reply