Dog days: Finding comfort in being alone

Michael LaRocca, Opinion Editor

Graphic by (Alex Kendall)

This was a long summer.

From May 13 until Aug. 23, I got to enjoy what I have come to love within my hometown of Middletown, New Jersey. I had all the benefits of home. I got back to work in my local bagel shop, I had a Dunkin’ within walking distance from my house and I was able to drive along the beautiful Jersey Shore coastline.

But after this past year, I saw everything differently.

After spending countless nights with friends during my first year at Quinnipiac University, the calm and sheer quietness I experienced at home was one thing I needed to adjust to.

Instead of being able to walk across the hall, knock on a friend’s door, and have the whole night to hang out, I was forced to make plans with friends from home. And if no one was around that night, I had to bite the bullet and make my own fun.

Surprisingly, as the summer went on, I found myself becoming more and more okay with that. When I was in high school, I saw Saturday nights alone as a social failure. If none of my friends were around, I would essentially mope around the house, walking around in my self pity.

For some reason, when I came home for the summer, I no longer saw it as a failure.

Maybe it was the fact that I was simply busy during these months. From May through July, I was working an internship at a local newspaper, completed seven credits worth of summer classes and worked at least three days a week at the bagel shop.

And when the internship and summer classes ended, I was working upwards of six days a week and shuttling my brothers back and forth to football practice.

All of this is just a long-winded way of saying I had enough going on for me to be OK with simply relaxing at the end of the day rather than spending the evening out on the town. I would much rather spend time with friends, but I was no longer upset by their absence.

Instead, I made the most of the people around me. I’m ecstatic to say that my two younger brothers are finally at the age where I can productively hang out with them as I would with my friends. When we were all at home, we would go on adventures like a little LaRocca crew.

Those were the best moments of the summer, as I realized there isn’t much time before the three of us all grow up and become responsible adults. The time with them I used to see as a nuisance finally became something valuable.

And on days when even my brothers weren’t available, I was fine with just being lazy, something that was difficult for me to do at Quinnipiac this past year. With no other responsibilities, I became a couch potato.

This was possibly the greatest summer of my life when it came to my television consumption. I sat down and watched the entirety of “The Sopranos,” “Breaking Bad” and “Better Call Saul.” These shows pulled me in so strongly that on nights when I was home alone, I would just enjoy the company of Tony Soprano, Walter White or even Jimmy McGill.

By summer’s end, I was fully focused on where I am now, back at school. I knew that before long, I would be back with my friends, knocking on each other’s doors and spending whole nights together.

While I understand that my college years should be some of the greatest years of my life, I think this summer taught me what life post-college is going to be like. Some days might be more eventful than others, but as I’ve grown, I think I’m going to be okay with that.