I am a homebody.
That’s putting it nicely. I go out so infrequently that I went almost a year before needing an oil change in my car, based on mileage. I go out so infrequently that I forgot I owned regular pants. I go out so infrequently that I often wonder if I might be becoming agoraphobic.
What is that movie with Sigourney Weaver where she is a recluse, holed up in her apartment or whatever and she’s so afraid to leave that when she walks into the hallway everything starts spinning as she hyperventilates and clings to the wall? Yeah that. I often wonder if that will be me one day.
Going out of the house is exhausting for me. It may be that I have social anxiety. A couple hours and I am so done. But it never used to be that way. I used to spend all my time out; we even used to go out to eat at the very least multiple times per week. We’d run all our errands around town, we’d go to the library and hang out…
Now I’ll look up on January 5th and realize that I have not left the house since Christmas Day.
This isn’t to say that I’m just sitting on my ass watching TV. I mean I do watch a fair amount of Netflix and movies, and binging is occasionally involved in all of that. But I still exercise, take the dog on walks, cook, clean, homeschool the kids… I just don’t often have an occasion to go anywhere and even the groceries are delivered now.
So today I started teaching a drawing class at my local art center. I knew this day was coming, the day when I would have to start getting in my car and driving to another location, where I would spend about four hours of my life away from home and my comfortable, secluded existence every single week.
That didn’t make it any easier though. When I was putting on my makeup I thought to myself ‘my God, I don’t think I’ve worn makeup in two weeks.’ Then I put on regular shoes. Not slippers, because you can’t wear slippers in public (I mean you can, but it’s looked down upon). Makeup. Regular shoes.
But I still had a couple of hours to kill until it was time to leave, so I sat down and read my book, which made me dread leaving more and more by the minute. At one point I had stopped reading and was just staring at my book thinking about how I didn’t want to leave my comfortable, sheltered existence. Not even for four hours for something I wanted to do.
Eventually, as I got up and dragged myself to class (which I ultimately did enjoy), I started coming up with all the reasons to never leave the house this year. I mean they could essentially apply to all years, but since everyone is doing this whole New Year New Me crap, in spite of my warnings last week not to do so, it sounds like a good thing to commit to.
1. Making a Murderer
Anyone else spend their holiday binge watching the most terrifying and disturbing documentation of the American justice system as it is today in action?
Making a Murderer is of course the number one reason never to leave the house in 2016 not just because you need to stay home to watch that shit, but because if you leave the house there’s obviously a good chance that you too will be framed for murder, and then ultimately failed by the very justice system you depend on for your livelihood.
2. Other Netflix Shit
I often find myself thinking about how there are just so many things on Netflix, and out there in general – movies, TV series’, documentaries…and I’m not talking about the mindless crap, I’m talking about good shit that could be called educational or art. Shit that makes you aware of what is going on in the world.
Anyway there is just so much of it out there that you need to be watching, and you can’t do that if you’re spending all of your time outside of the house.
Same principle as the Other Netflix Shit: there is just so much wine to be had and tried, with new ones cropping up it seems like every week. Have you ever been through the wine selection at Costco or your grocery store? It never ends!
Life is too short to go without trying all that delicious wine; and moreover you need to drink it at home because drinking and driving is very 1995.
Did you catch my little diddy about getting comfortable with my book only to have to leave?
I. Am. Sick. Of. This. Happening.
Why life continues to get in the way of me and my books is beyond me. Nevertheless, the more I commit to stay at home all year the more I am able to get read towards my goal of 125 books for 2016.
After going for several weeks without once stepping foot out the front door, I can tell you people without a singular doubt that pajamas > regular clothes. Hands down.
I would even go as far as to say that wearing pajamas during the day makes them even more > regular clothes. It’s like eating a cupcake when you know you’re on a group diet with a bunch of other people. It’s just so good because you aren’t supposed to be doing it, and you know you’re one of the only ones with the balls enough to go there.
6. Other People
Now it’s already become clear that I’m not exactly what one would call a socialite. I have a very small circle of people that tolerate me, and that I in turn are able to tolerate. And that’s it.
When you go out of your house too much, though, you are exposed to the underbelly of humanity. People you would never – not in a million years – have anything to do with, along with all the reasons you wouldn’t have anything to do with them, are foisted upon you just by virtue of the fact that you all left the house.
Several years ago a friend of mine and I were walking through 3rd Street Promenade (this was when we lived in Santa Monica), and came across Howie Mandel doing some street bit for TV. My friend being boisterous and, well, crazy, jumped up and down until they interviewed him for the bit.
My friend walked up to Mandel and offered his hand. To shake. You know, like: “hello, nice to meet you, shake the hand.” But Mandel says “wait what are you doing man, germs.”
I am rapidly descending into that level of germaphobe. I mean I still shake people’s hands, but sometimes I also feel like leaving the house only if I am protected in gloves and a mask.
It seems as though every time we leave the house we are confronted by a parade of germs just oozing with the desire to infect us. Now I know kids are supposed to get all that immunity shit over with early on (actually, studies have proven that’s all old wives tale shit, but I’m no doctor so…); but for God’s sakes, can we have one fucking break from the $1000 illnesses already?!
Getting sick costs money and at this point in time we don’t have it.
Leaving the house in general costs money. Directly and indirectly.
By not going out so much that I went almost a year without needing an oil change, I effectively saved myself three oil changes. That’s about $180, not to mention all the other unnecessary shit they always find that doesn’t really need fixing – but wait, we have to fix it or we can’t do your oil change…
That was just the start of the savings.
9. Teaching Your Kids Mindfulness
This is a serious one, which I know is shocking since 90% of what comes out of my mouth is laced with sarcasm.
Constantly being on the go, and dragging your kids from one errand to another…one social function to the next…play land to play land…(you get the point), does nothing to teach your kids mindfulness.
There was a time that this was how I lived. To keep my kids entertained, I would drag them from place to place, spending tons of money and energy to give them roughly one hour of instant gratification and fun before they got bored and were ready to move on to the next best thing.
Then I noticed that they had stopped appreciating the things they had at home. Suddenly it was always about what was bigger and better. They stopped finding as much interest in reading or playing a board game as a family, because they wanted to go to the new jump place down the street.
That’s when I realized that I was teaching my kids to live in the future, the “what’s next,” rather than to live in the mindful present.
So we went cold turkey. We stopped taking them anywhere, and stopped buying them every single thing that they asked for. At first, it was rough, but as time went on the old toys and games and books that they had loved before started coming out. And suddenly they loved being at home and loved the things they already had again.
They were more mindful of their time and appreciative of their family and what they had, too.
10. Did I Mention Netflix, Pajamas, and Reading?
Seriously, this whole post was about those three things, which – I guess – makes them worth repeating.
Life is too short to spend it sitting in traffic, tolerating irritating people, and doing things you don’t actually want to do.
Now…if you want to go out and have a good time, or go on a hike, or attend that fifth family Thanksgiving dinner, well so be it. But just remember that at home you have all these wonderful things waiting for you that can and are just as good.