I spent the entire day yesterday by myself. I tried to find something to do but as usually happens with such a big city, if you haven’t already made plans beforehand, it’s hard to wing it. Sometimes this is not the case and a number of plans fall into your lap, but my experience in Buenos Aires has been one of much involuntary solitude. I’m used to it by now, so much so that I’m thinking ahead of my vacation to Bolivia and northwest Argentina and it hadn’t even dawned on me that I’ll be doing it alone (think a few years back…backpacking in Bolivia alone?? what??).
I prefer the company, however, and whenever I spend too much time by myself I can’t seem to get out of my head. Haunted by the hundreds of memories I’ve accrued in my short time, I don’t even need to read a book or watch a movie because the ridiculousness of my real life is just as entertaining, though it’s much harder to grasp the times that have passed now. It occurred to me that it’s now been exactly a year since I left for vacation to Patagonia with my parents. I’ve been working straight for the longest time in my life, with one long weekend in Chile in October. It’s tiring as all hell, and thinking that I came to Argentina for something else but wound up working just as hard, or harder than friends back home makes me wonder why I work for the 2 weeks of vacation time a year when traveling is such a big part of how I find happiness.
Anyway, it’s kind of a scary thing to think of how much time has passed by, and how the hands on the clock only seem to be moving faster. It’s been nearly a year since I’ve seen my parents and a year and a half for the rest of my family and friends. The other day I was talking with a friend about going to the city of Tigre just outside of Buenos Aires for a day trip, and I said the only time I went was in November, 2009. But to say it like that, rather than “a year ago” or “last year” makes it seem so much more distant. It’s a fact in history rather than a recent event. And that was all while I was living here.
So finally at 1 am I went out to meet up with a friend and we went to a bar/club. But after spending so much time alone it was hard to get back into the social atmosphere, and in a tightly packed and overheated club with lousy music, I was not feeling it at all. I stayed for a while but eventually excused myself to leave, realizing that I was only going to make myself unnecessarily exhausted for today by staying out and not even enjoying it. I thought back to something I wrote about a few days back–what would I be doing if I lived in the United States right now?
At that moment, would I be at a bar with my friends toasting to the good times, or would I be at a bar with my friends just as bored and planning a great escape? I’ll never know. But I read a little anecdote yesterday in Spanish that said “Todos encontrarían su propia vida mucho más interesante si dejaran de compararla con la de los demás.” You’ll find your own life much more interesting if you stop comparing it to those of others. I’m going to try to keep that in mind for the time being.