I really need to get out more. Despite the fact that I live in one of the most wonderful cities in the world (to my mind, THE most wonderful), I spend an awful lot of time on the sofa. In fact, tonight will be the first night since Saturday that I don't eat my dinner on it. Granted, Alex and I have been on a money saving mission, Bua has not been very well and Line of Duty is THE BEST THING TO EVER HAPPEN TO THE WORLD but I think it's time for me to give my poor sofa a break.
According to a study done by UKTVPLAY, a typical adult now watches around 24 hours of television a week with one in 14 spending more than 40 hours doing it. And who am I to judge? Two weeks after starting it I'm already onto the fourth series of Line of Duty, so far this year we've watched all of Our Girl, Billions, Broadchurch and Fortitude to name but a few (all seriously recommended btw, but that's not really the point of this article). Living in London is expensive, having a dog can be a tad-o restricting and sometimes at the end of a long day, there is nothing more needed than a night in.
But if we're honest with ourselves, really honest, how often do we SAY we NEED a night in, when in actual fact, we just can't be bothered to do anything else. And is there a difference?
Alex and I decided last weekend that we needed a whole week in. N-E-E-D-E-D one. Money is tight tight tight, we've been total social butterflies as of late and we both know that this summer is going to be mad busy so we need to make the most of our time together, and more importantly, if we're honest, the opportunity to get our teeth into several really good box sets. So, barring Tuesday night when I declared that we MUST go for an hour's dog walk because the weather was heaven and I was stir-crazy and heartbroken having not turned the news off all day, this week has been Groundhog Day, with only our dinner menus changing.
And now it's Thursday and I've had enough. I work from home, I'm self-employed and as a result I spend a LOT of time at home. Although I could go out, like they do in the films, and work from a coffee shop for a couple of hours, it is a faff and when there is stuff to do, I'm generally better off just doing it rather than getting choosey about the location. Normally I try to at least organise something each day so that I'm not left totally devoid of human contact, but some weeks that's just not easy to do. I don't know many people doing similar things to me, I'm crap at networking and most of my friends work proper 9-6 jobs. So my socialising happens in the evening, I'm a bit of a loser during the day but by night time I can talk and listen and talk and listen until I've filled up my human interaction fuel tank.
For Alex this is probably different. It's going to be hist fifth night in in a row for him too but I'm not sure he's had enough yet, he leaves the house every morning and is surrounded by people, he is exhausted by the travel and the stress and the polite smiles at people he doesn't know or like and so when he comes home, it's nice to be back, it's comforting and to a degree, still a novelty. And most people, you included probably, are, I suspect like Alex. Still needing your nights in and never imagining a time when you could become bored of your house or your sofa. But from someone who HAS become bored of it and has let it lose that novelty completely, let me warn you: you need to get out, now.
What do they say, distance makes the heart grow fonder? This expression describes relationships, traditionally, but I think we can apply it to this scenario as well. Let's pretend, for the purposes of this article that your sofa is your love interest. If you spend every waking moment of every waking day with them, they'll start to get on your nerves a whole lot quicker than they would if you only saw them a couple of times a week. If you find yourself busy as hell five nights in a row, by the time you get to see them on the sixth night it will be so much special than it would have been if you'd just flopped home again and fallen into the same routine. I love Alex every minute of every day but there is nothing more special than time together when we've spent time apart. And yes, I do realise that I just compared my boyfriend of 4.5 years to my DFS sofa. Sorry Alex.
Look, you know this already. But it IS all too easy to fall into a routine where your sofa is concerned. It's so easy to talk yourself into feeling that you NEED it and after a while, that relationship can become toxic. I've said it before and I'll say it again, on your death bed you won't remember the time that you watched every episode of Downton Abbey back to back.
Some people are naturally introverts, I understand that. I don't think, by nature, I am one - I'm incredibly needy and do love to be out, but I am also very anxious and so do show a lot of symptoms of a hermit from time to time. So I do have to force myself to go out sometimes. Remind myself that I am absolutely NOT as busy as I think I am. That there is always time for an old friend and that ultimately, my sofa isn't going anywhere in a hurry. (It took four men two hours to get the bastard thing into the house, it can literally never leave.)
I want to do lots of amazing things with my life, and as fun as it is to sit and plot my future from the comfort of my sofa, I'd gain a whole lot more by just going out there and DOING it. So if you are, like me, planning another night in tonight, perhaps it's time to pick up the phone and plan something else. Take your partner with you, take the dog, take the cushion if you must, but just get off the goddamn sofa.