The 22nd Thing

“25 Things” is the latest Facebook phenomenon. It’s such a simple idea—write down 25 random facts about yourself and tag your friends to do the same. It’s spread so fast that it’s prompted articles in, at least, Time and the Boston Globe, and, of course, some backlash already. It’s gotten to the point where “my twenty-five things” is coming up in casual conversation. But while I agree that it’s a tad self-indulgent, I think it’s fun, and I’ve learned a lot from it. Now all my Facebook friends know that 90s sitcoms are my TV equivalent of comfort food and that, despite not knowing how to sail, I’d like to own a boat someday. And I’ve learned that I have a lot in common with many of my friends. A surprising number of them remember the old PBS shows as fondly as I do (but that’s a subject for another post). I’m not the only person who never gets sick of the view between Charles MGH and Kendall on the Red Line. It also turns out that I have friends who share my affinity for 90s pop, don’t like sandwiches with meat, and even one who’s afraid of geese, and that my sister and I have more in common than I realized.

One thing that people have commented on a lot, though, is my 22nd thing—that I never get bored. People keep telling me what a great thing that is.

But the thing is, it’s both a blessing and a curse. It’s true that I don’t get bored. Even when I was little, I was very good at keeping myself entertained. It’s partly because I enjoy things that tend to be solitary activities, like reading and writing. And as I mentioned in another post, I feel like I don’t have enough hours in the day, so I’ll never run out of things to read or things to write. Even if I do, I don’t mind re-reading old books, or re-watching movies or TV show episodes.

But while I don’t get bored, I do get lonely. Quite a bit, actually. Sometimes I think that my ability to keep myself entertained has prevented me from getting close to people. But it’s a two-way street: I don’t need other people to be entertained, and other people don’t need me.

Unfortunately, I’ve discovered recently that while I’m happy by myself, I’m happier with people around. It’s not like I don’t have friends—I do—but, as I’ve said before, I don’t have anyone who really cares whether or not I’m there. I don’t have anyone who calls me to share good or bad news the moment it happens. On Fridays, people at work will ask me if I have weekend plans and on Mondays, they’ll ask me what I did over the weekend. More often than not, the answer is “nothing.” Or, not nothing, since I was probably writing or watching a movie, but nothing that involved other people.

I think I need to start taking more initiative myself. I have a lot of casual friends that I’d like to be closer to. People always say that it’s better to have a few close friends than a lot of casual ones, and I often feel like I have the latter. But I tend to get anxiety about inviting people to do things. I’ve lost enough friends, either due to the girl drama that tends to happen in school or simply due to time and distance, that I tend to make myself think that people are just pretending to like me. And I’m so horribly awkward that I feel like that’s the only thing that people remember about me.

I don’t want to do another woe-is-me, I’m-alone-again Valentine’s Day entry this year, but I don’t think I’d mind being single so much if I felt like I had friends who needed me. At some point, I might take a job that would take me away from Boston, and it would be so much easier if I had a boyfriend—someone who would go there with me, or, at the very least, miss me a lot. I feel like if I left Boston now, everyone would forget about me, and I’d be alone in a new city. We’d say we’d keep in touch, but even with the best of intentions, people lose touch. It’s happened often enough with me.

Well, I guess this turned into a whiny, woe-is-me post anyway. My apologies. Maybe I’m the only person who has this problem, but if there’s anything 25 Things has taught me, it’s that when you think you’re the only one, you’re probably wrong.

4 thoughts on “The 22nd Thing

  1. Rebekah

    ehh, when people ask me what I did over the weekend, I usually have to say “nothing,” too. I like my alone time a lot, but it does mean I socialize a lot less than I probably should.That said, I think that having a few close friends is much more rewarding than a lot of casual friends. And being single is definitely difficult at times. I think single people are totally allowed to vent once in a while about it — goodness knows we have to hear about/see happy couples enough times :)

  2. MediaMaven

    I’ve enjoyed reading the 25 Lists as well. I too have noticed that while I do love and need my “alone time”, I have to have people around me, and they tend to make me happier and livelier. Whenever I’m in a funk and am asked to go out, I’ve learned to accept, even if my instinct is to stay inside and mope. I always feel better, and whatever I was pissed or sad about isn’t as big a deal as it was. Make the effort. People might be surprised, but meetups often turn into a fun thing, and you never know where it might lead.

  3. Christina

    Darlin’, I’d miss you if you were gone. I know that I’m crazy busy ALL the bloody time and that we don’t get to talk as often as either of us would like but that’s mainly the fault of me having no ability to cut myself off from work. I get up for work at 5 and continue until at least 9:30 at night and then come home and do more work. I’m trying to learn how to cut myself off and even have a friend who has started IMing me at random points to say “have you stopped yet?” He claims I need to learn balance and I claim I need all that time to get all of my work done. I think that the theory is essentially that I have to cut back on my after-school activities that I run so that I can do normal things like go out on the weekends, sleep, or even hang out with friends at someone’s apartment. If it makes you feel any better, even Laura who lives down the street from me hasn’t seen me since before Christmas. So, basically, the lesson of this story is that even if we can’t get together or talk a lot it doesn’t mean that I don’t think about you. Hope you’re doing well. Hugoo!

  4. Keri

    I randomly happened upon your blog because I have a Google Alert on a keyword in one of your posts, but I am glad to have found this great blog. I wanted to let you know that the key to having people “needing” you in the lives is to make other people feel that you need them. I was at the same point in my life that it sounds like you are (or were) and it took awhile for me to figure it out, but all intentions, good or bad, are reciprocated.

    Good luck! Keep writing!


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