With the recent winter storm behind us, my daughter and husband returned to work today while I got to stay in bed as long as I wished. The best part is that after having my husband home for 2 weeks with a nasty bronchial infection, and my daughter home sporadically, I have the house all to myself today. I love my “alone time.”
When I think about it I have always loved alone time. As the eldest of eight children, I frequently retreated to my (shared) bedroom to do my homework. While the rest of the family watched tv at night, I chose to read in bed. Clearly, even at a much younger age, I had a need for solitude.
Throughout high school I participated in many extracurricular activities. I am told by those who attended high school with me that I was a very social person and always said hello to everyone.
In college I drifted back to my earlier tendencies. Although I lived in a dorm and always had roommates I tended to spend my spare time with my boyfriend rather than my roomates. I enjoyed their company, but he was a loner, too, and a bit possessive (much like my high school boyfriend).
In graduate school I finally met a group of my peers who were scarily bright and very dynamic. For a year I enjoyed being part of the pack. Then, in 1968, at the height of the VietNam War, a new boyfriend and I headed West to California where he had landed an adjunct teaching position. I fell in love with California, but our relationship was often difficult, so after three years I set out on my own for France for a gig a friend arranged for me. I was to teach English to two kids in an upper-middle class family in Paris. I was eager to be completely on my own to see what that would be like.
For the first time in my life, I had my own space. Granted it was a garret in a Parisian apartment building; a room that would surely have been occupied by a servant in the past. I had no hot water, and the toilet was down the hall. But it was mine…for a while.
About a year and many adventures later, I returned to the US and did all the predictable things…worked in a series of jobs, met my husband and started a family, went back to school for my career as a TESOL teacher, and retired after twenty-two years in 2014. So what happened to the girl who liked her “alone” time?
She’s sitting here typing this post, sifting through memories, and trying to have something meaningful to say to her readers.
My alone time affords me so many pleasures:
Coffee and the NY Times all to myself in the am
Doing chores at leisure when I choose to do them
Having the time to respond to Slicers every day in March
Indulging in the time to live in my thoughts and have dialogues with myself
Not answering the phone if I choose not to
Eating whenever I feel like it
Listening to the sound of the wind following the snowstorm yesterday
Watching the birds at the feeder whenever I can
Reflecting on the myriad of activities I do weekly
Remembering to reach out to those I’ve been meaning to call or email
Staying in my pajamas and robe as long as I choose to
Reading for pleasure
Preparing and cooking dinner at my leisure
Listening to the radio while preparing dinner
Remembering how different my life was when I was a teacher
Savoring these days when I get to recharge my batteries
Being my own best friend because I need that after a lifetime of doing for others
Remembering and acting upon those feelings I had as a teenager when I desperately needed to be alone for a while.
Realizing that the reason I can so fully enjoy alone time is because I have family and friends in my life most of the time who love me.
Do you enjoy your “alone time?”